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American credit card debt tops $1 trillion

Families in Kentucky and around the country are sinking deeper and deeper into debt. Wages have risen slowly over the past 10 years, but these modest gains have not been enough to keep up with inflation. Many America families have turned to credit cards to make ends meet, and this has fueled a surge in revolving debt balances across the country. Americans now owe credit card companies more than $1 trillion, and most experts expect this figure to keep rising.

Discussions about rising credit card debt often revolve around the amount owed by the average consumer or household, but these statistics do not paint a complete picture. About 157 million Americans carry balances on one or more credit cards, but this accounts for only about half of the country's adult population. The average household in the United States pays more than $1,300 each year in credit card interest, but that figure is somewhat misleading.

When only families who carry revolving debt are taken into consideration, the average amount owed to credit card companies is a worrying $16,061 according to the financial information company NerdWallet. These balances are subject to an average annual percentage rate of 19.36 percent, and that figure looks likely to increase in the coming years as the economy stabilizes and the Federal Reserve slowly nudges interest rates back to their pre-recession levels.

Revolving debt can be very difficult to escape when cash-strapped families have little choice but to use credit cards to pay for food and other necessities. Credit card balances take decades to pay off when only minimum payments are made, but attorneys with debt relief experience could explain how filing for consumer bankruptcy can provide an escape from the debt trap and open the door to a different financial path. Attorneys could also clear up the many myths and misconceptions that surround bankruptcy and explain the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

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