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U.S. credit card debt exceeds $1 trillion

Credit card debt in Florida and around the country has reached levels last seen in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis as more and more families turn to plastic to make ends meet. The amount owed by Americans to credit card companies exceeded $1 trillion as 2016 drew to a close, and $650 billion of this debt was subject to finance charges. The average interest rate on these types of revolving accounts in the United States exceeds 19 percent, and the average American family pays more than $100 in credit card interest each month.

A senior figure at one of the nation’s leading credit monitoring firms said that consumers were taking advantage of promotions that offered rewards for signing up and cash back on purchases. He also pointed out that credit card companies must continue to open accounts in order to grow, and giving their customers a modest incentive to use their new cards makes good business sense.

Economists may offer a different opinion about the cause of rising credit card debt levels. While average household income has risen steadily over the last 10 years, these gains have not been able to keep up with increases in the cost of living. Many American families owe nothing to credit card companies, but the average combined balances of those that do is more than $16,000.

Individuals or families struggling with debt often turn to credit cards to put food on the table. Credit cards make borrowing quick and easy, but taking on new debt to sustain an unmanageable financial situation becomes more and more stressful as time wears on. Attorneys with debt relief experience could explain how filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy gives consumers an opportunity to escape this cycle of debt and provides them with the opportunity of a fresh start. Attorneys could also point out that debt collectors are for the most part not permitted to call or otherwise harass debtors who have filed for bankruptcy.

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