Consumer borrowing up, but credit card use falls

Americans borrowed more in September to buy cars and attend college, but they cut back on using their credit cards for a third straight month. The latest data suggest consumers are being cautious about taking on high-interest debt in the weak economy.

The Federal Reserve says total consumer borrowing rose by $7.4 billion. It had fallen in August by the most in 16 months.

The September increase reflected a 5.8 percent increase in borrowing in the category that includes car and student loans. The category that covers credit card purchases dropped 1 percent after declines of 3.4 percent in August and 5.1 percent in July.