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U.S. credit card debt set to surpass $1 trillion

The 2008 financial crisis in Florida and across the country was caused in large part by unsustainable levels of mortgage and other debt. Americans tightened their belts during the ensuing recession, but data from the U.S. Federal Reserve suggests that household debt levels in the United States are growing once again. The rise in revolving debt has been particularly worrying to economic experts, and these concerns have not been calmed by reports revealing that the amount owed by Americans to credit card companies is expected to surpass $1 trillion by the end of 2017.

Credit cards are marketed as an easy way to borrow, but this convenience usually comes at a price. High fees and interest rates can make credit card debt difficult to escape from, and revolving balances can take decades to pay off when consumers make only minimum payments. High rates can sometimes be avoided for a time by transferring balances to new accounts with introductory specials, but savings may be fleeting if they are not used to pay down balances before these offers expire and rates return to normal.

Consumers who hope to avoid falling into the credit card debt trap are advised to reduce their overheads and consider their spending more carefully, but this is usually easier said than done for families who are struggling to make ends meet. Individuals often run into financial difficulties when an illness prevents them from working, and even those with high incomes often use credit cards to pay for necessities during times of need.

Individuals and families struggling with unmanageable debt sometimes feel that the system is stacked against them, but the nation’s bankruptcy laws were written to provide second chances. Attorneys with debt relief experience could explain how credit card balances may be included in Chapter 13 bankruptcy payment plans, and they may also point out how filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 petition prevents debt collectors from garnishing paychecks and making harassing calls.

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