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Overall credit card debt has dropped nationwide since 2013

Credit card debt among American households has dropped since 2013, with the average consumer carrying about $3,600 in debt during the first quarter of this year. However, some states have seen consumer balances rising again, with borrowers once again making big purchases on their lines of credit. Although it does not appear that Washington residents are carrying higher amounts of credit card debt, some other regions may be cruising for more financial difficulties because of their high individual rates.

Experts say that Washington's neighboring state of Oregon was one of the biggest surprises; credit card debt there dropped by about $102 since the beginning of 2013, and a whopping $192 since the same period in 2012. Borrowers in other states such as Connecticut, New Jersey and Alaska were not so lucky. Residents in those states carry at least $4,300 average credit card debt, according to official reports. Alaskans have lowered their average individual debt by $200 since 2012, but their charge card use is still higher than normal.

Although these numbers may seem intimidating, it is important to remember that outstanding balances are not the sole factor in determining someone's creditworthiness. For example, although someone may be carrying $3,000 in debt, they could have $20,000 in available credit; that ratio is one of the key determinants used to create a credit score. Paying bills on time can also contribute positively to your credit history.

If you are having difficulty paying your creditors -- credit card or otherwise -- you may be a good candidate for the discharge of consumer debt through bankruptcy. Although this is a major financial decision, it can help you receive a clean financial start that can put you back on track to a successful future. You can put a stop to annoying creditor harassment and delinquent payments by considering liquidation or reorganization bankruptcy options.

Source: Credit.com, "The States With the Most Credit Card Debt", June 26, 2014

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