It looks like Americans may not have cut up the plastic quite yet. While an analysis from CardHub showed that consumers paid down $32.6 billion in credit card debt in the first quarter of 2013, they added another $42.1 billion in the last quarter. This marked the biggest quarterly increase since 2011.
Fewer American households are defaulting on their debts, and the default rate is lower than it has been in years. Credit cards, however, are still a sticking point for many, and $267 billion has been defaulted on in credit card debt alone over the past five years.
The average credit card debt in the country has risen to $6,971, according to recent data, and that is up from an average of $6,591 at the start of 2013. The increase in credit card debt comes along with an increase in overall household debt as well, with Americans owing $11.52 trillion at the close of 2013. This is an increase of $180 billion from the previous year.
Experts say that this could mean that the country will see the defaults rates starting to rise again if this increase in debt is more than the households can support. For those already facing overwhelming debt and seeking relief, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an option. This type of bankruptcy can restructure debt to allow for more manageable payments and get consumers back on track with a fresh financial start. It is not something that should be done lightly, however. Those trying to stop foreclosure or stop creditor harassment can get more information about available options from a bankruptcy law attorney.
Source: Wall St. Cheat Sheet, “Are Americans still addicted to credit card debt?” Eric McWhinnie, Mar. 11, 2014