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Millions of Americans are grappling with credit card debt. According to WalletHub, last year ended with a cumulative increase in this total combined debt in the tens of billions of dollars. There are plenty of circumstances that might lead to unpaid balances on your credit cards, and if you are currently struggling to deal with yours, the following four reasons might sound familiar. Identifying the underlying cause of credit card debt may help you start the path towards debt relief.

Medical expenses

Medical expenses are still one of the leading factors in bankruptcy cases and financial struggles. If you have started paying bills with a credit card, you certainly are not alone, but this can quickly cause your balances to skyrocket. Because medical expenses are often quite high, this can create debt that seems insurmountable. Negotiating with your creditors rather than simply charging a bill to your card is one way to prevent this from happening.

Living beyond your means

Many people have credit card debt that is the result of living beyond their means. This does not mean it is the result of recklessness, though. You may have experienced a loss of income or other life event which impacted your finances. Regardless of the cause, though, when you are spending more than you are making, you are sure to find yourself facing substantial debt sooner or later.

Unforeseen emergencies

Emergencies are another common cause of debt. Perhaps you get into an accident or your pet becomes sick. Paying for the car repairs or the vet bill may not be possible without using your credit card. Emergency situations like these create unexpected expenses that can increase your credit card’s balance. To avoid this, it is a good idea to maintain a small emergency fund that you can use instead of your credit.


When you think of credit card debt, you might not think of divorce, but all too often, the two go hand in hand. Unless you have a prenuptial agreement, you may be at risk of inheriting part or all of your spouse’s debt upon finalization of the divorce. Even if you do not inherit debt, however, you might accrue it because of the costs associated with the divorce process.

These are just a few of the reasons you might be like the many other Americans whose credit card debt rose in the past year. If you need relief, you can learn more about your legal options available by contacting an attorney.