According to statistics from the Federal Reserve, credit card debt totals are up 1.7 percent year over year. Add up the amount of debt owed by all Americans, and it’s a staggering $11.85 trillion with $890.9 billion in credit card debt alone. That’s an overwhelming number, so it’s not surprising that many consumers themselves are overwhelmed by their debt situation.
The Fed numbers indicate that, on average, American households owe $7,327 in credit card debt. That figure takes all households into accounts; if you run the numbers only on households that have credit card debt, the average is $15,706. Those numbers were from March 2015 and represent approximately a .48 percent increase in debt in only a single month. Credit card debt is up 2.65 percent since 2014, and NerdWallet says that the rate of increase for 2015 means the total debt might increase by 5.8 percent by next year.
While credit card debt numbers are down since a peak in 2009, experts note that the reduction in average debt isn’t necessarily because people were able to or did pay off their accounts. Instead, many people defaulted on debts because they were unable to make payments during several years of financial crisis.
Today, many families and households are still experiencing personal financial crisis that makes it difficult or impossible to pay off credit card debt. Rising interest rates, late fees and other tools of the credit card company raise even more obstacles to paying off debt. But, there are legal debt relief options available. From filing for bankruptcy to understanding how to negotiate debt relief with a single creditor, understanding how to employ these tools can reduce financial stress and help families get back on their feet.
Source: Nerd Wallet, “American Household Credit Card Debt Statistics: 2015,” Tim Chen, accessed June 25, 2015