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Credit card debt still rising in America

Credit card debt still carries a certain stigma, leading some in Washington to avoid seeking help when they desperately need it. Others might not feel stigmatized by credit card debt but, rather, by bankruptcy. Both of these conflicting feelings can result in further stress and burdens for those who need help with debt relief the most.

Credit card companies have made the act of creating seemingly lucrative deals into an art form. Many companies, such as Chase, have done away with annual fees for certain cards and offer cash bonuses for spending. Consumers who wrack up $500 on the cards within three months of establishing accounts are awarded with $150, and adding other users to the cards can bring in another $25. Bundled with a number of other benefits, consumers might not be able to spot the hidden catches. Other than the bonuses that will never top the debts actually on the cards, Chase Freedom, in particular, boosts users from 14 percent APR all the way up to 23 percent after the introductory periods end, a less-advertised aspect of the cards.

As a whole, the United States took on an additional $630 billion during the final months of 2015 alone. Credit card debt takes an average of 32 years to pay off in some areas of the country. For some, that means leaving behind a legacy of debt that they are never able to fully pay off.

Far too often, credit card debt interferes with the day-to-day lives of Washington residents. Aside from the barrage of collection claims and harassing creditors' phone calls, deciding between paying mortgage payments or credit card bills is an unfortunate reality that many people face. Bankruptcy is not always the first thing that comes to mind when dealing with credit card debt, which is usually because debtors have sincere desires to pay off their debts, even when high interest rates and unforeseen life events can make doing so virtually impossible. When debt reaches a tipping point and completely overwhelms an individual, it is well-advised to consider the possible benefits of seeking debt relief through bankruptcy.

Source: highlandstoday.com, "Credit card feel heavier?", Gary Pinell, Jan. 11, 2016

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