Determining the average amount of credit card debt per American seems like an easy task at first. Simply find the total number of Americans and total debt, do some quick math and come up with the answer. It isn't quite that easy, though. The amount of credit card debt, and the impact that this debt has upon families, can vary depending upon a person's situation.
Average of All Americans
The average credit card debt per American is around $3600. This is a great starting point to help us understand credit card debt but doesn't tell the whole story. For instance, 60% of Americans don't have any credit card debt at all. Others have credit card debt periodically but are up to date on their payments. So if that many Americans don't have any credit card debt, what does that say about the rest of those who do?
Average of Those with Credit Card Debt
If you take Americans with no card debt out of the equation, you get a very different number. Of those who have at least some credit card debt, the average debt per person is above 16,000 dollars and rising. Over the past 3 years, card debt has increased by ten percent in this category. This makes the average interest rate per person around 2,600 dollars.
Worse yet, if the average household were to pay off a 16,000-dollar debt at the minimum payment each month, it would take 14 years to pay it off at a cost of over 40,000 dollars! Unfortunately, credit card companies most often prey off of the poorest of our nation. The grand majority of card debt is from those most affected by poverty.
What You Can Do
If you or someone you care about is struggling to handle credit card debt, there is plenty that you can do. You can find a financial counselor to help you, stop using your cards, make larger payments, or speak with your creditors about a lower interest rate or payment. You may also wish to file for bankruptcy.
If That's Not Enough
Often, despite an individual's desire to pay off their card debt, the task is too difficult. In this case, it's a good idea to sit down with a bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your situation. Your lawyer will be able to weigh your income potential versus your debt and decide if you are a good candidate for filing for bankruptcy.
Filing for bankruptcy has become a huge relief to countless Americans over the years. It's enabled them to hit the financial reset button and get a fresh start. It also has gotten them out from under credit card companies who make their money by exploiting their customers. If you ever have any questions regarding filing for bankruptcy, we would count it an honor to sit down with you and discuss your options. You don't have to deal with this problem alone.