Credit card debt has been rising since the 1980s, reaching epic proportions today. According to the Fed, the 2007 average household credit debt was $8,500. The Center for Media Research reports that the average consumer has a total of 13 credit obligations on record at a credit bureau. The government reported in 2006 that the national savings rate WAS negative 0.5 percent, not since the depression era years of 1932 and 1933 had the savings rate been negative. So how are Americans coping with negative savings and increasing credit card debt? Not very well.
The total US consumer debt (excluding mortgage debt) reached $2.46 Trillion in mid 2007, an increase from $2.398 Trillion in 2006. American consumer revolving credit debt reached $904 Billion in mid 2007, a jump from $879 billion in 2006. Also, according to the Fed, the average credit card balance is now almost 5 percent of the average consumers annual income.
No matter how you look at it, Americans owe too much to credit card companies. The problem is only compounded by the high interest rates of 12 30%, extravagant fees, confusing credit card offers, and difficult to understand credit card disclosures.
No wonder, people are falling behind in their payments. Compared to Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs), card interest rates are about twice as high and are not tax deductible. But due to the variable nature of HELOCs interest rates, these arent palatable options in high interest rate environments.
Getting rid of debt should be the main priority for majority of Americans, as majority of them have some form of credit debt. In several cases the cycle of debt never ends, costing many a lower credit rating, credit score, and thousands of dollars in preventable interest.
Due to lack of savings, people are using credit cards more often to pay for everyday purchases.
Credit debt relief, credit help, and debt consolidation have become popular with consumers as a way to access debt management tools offered by credit counseling services.
According to Georgetown Universitys Credit Research Center, approximately 2.0 to 2.5 million Americans seek debt help of a credit counselor each year. In the last decade of 1990 2000, the number of Americans seeking credit debt relief doubled.
Also, the average consumer seeking a consumer credit counseling services carried a balance on two credit cards. So more and more people are turning to the help of a trusted professional, in order to salvage their credit history and get out of debt