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Consumers paying down debt more slowly

A shopper pulls credit card from her wallet make purchase Best Buy Mechanicsburg Pa. l AP photo/Carolyn Kaster file

A shopper pulls a credit card from her wallet to make a purchase at Best Buy in Mechanicsburg, Pa. l AP photo/Carolyn Kaster, file

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Consumers may be breathing a bit easier as they pay down less of their credit-card debt than they did a year ago, and they are expected to accrue more debt by year-end, according to a survey released Thursday.

Consumers paid down $32.4 billion, collectively, of their credit-card debt in the first three months of this year, or 26 percent less than the same period last year, said, a credit-card comparison Web site that issues debt studies. The study forecast that consumers will end the year with $20 billion more in credit-card debt than they started with. The study said the data are particularly important because people usually pay off more of their credit-card debt at the beginning of the year when they receive bonuses and tax refunds, and focus on paying for purchases they made during the holidays.

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