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As many of our Florida readers know, we have often spoken about how credit card debt can lead to bankruptcy if the credit cards aren’t properly managed or if a life event changes the borrower’s ability to pay. It seems that Americans are once again embracing the willingness of credit card companies and banks to lend them money. The average credit card balance increased in 2014 by 5.9 percent nationally, but the increase in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area was higher.

Miami-Fort Lauderdale comes in at number 12 on the list of the total credit card debt of metropolitan areas in the country. In December of 2013, the area had over $8.9 billion in credit card debt. That number shot up 8.69 percent by December of 2014 to over $9.7 billion.

Orlando wasn’t too far behind. Orlando came in at number 25 on the list with over $4.2 in December of 2013 and over $4.6 in December of 2014, which is an increase of 9.16 percent. That is a bigger percentage increase than the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area.

The credit card debt that Americans have outstanding jumped from $606.7 billion at the end of 2013 up to $642.4 billion in December of 2014. One troubling aspect to these numbers is that some of the new debt is being taken on by borrowers who are considered high risk. The percentage of high risk approvals dipped at one point in 2008, but has since increased.

While many borrowers might not have a problem repaying credit card debt, others might find it overwhelming. For those in the latter group, researching options like Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you to decide how to regain control over your finances.

Source: The Motley Fool, “The Average American’s Credit Card Debt Grew This Much Last Year — How Do You Compare?” Todd Campbell, Mar. 15, 2015