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Amid inflation and layoffs, credit card debt is surging


It’s been apparent for months that a growing number of consumers are putting purchases on plastic amid sky-high inflation and rising layoffs.

But a batch of new surveys and studies show that the problem is worsening.

Bankrate reports that about 46% of cardholders are now carrying a balance from month to month, up from 39% a year ago.

NerdWallet, meanwhile, finds that the average card balance now runs about $7,500, up 29% from a year earlier.

The finance site GOBankingRates says its research shows that 14 million Americans now have a balance of $10,000 or more.

And finally, LendingTree says total card balances have hit $925 billion.

This is understandable. High prices and a surge in layoffs have left millions of households getting by paycheck to paycheck, or scrambling just to make ends meet.

The danger to consumers, however, is profound.

The interest rate on most cards now runs 20%, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s the highest level in nearly 30 years.

It’s difficult, but with a recession looming, it’s time for cash-strapped consumers to tighten their belts and try to relieve themselves of at least some of their debt.

Otherwise a bad situation will only grow worse for many as debt burdens increase, making financial recovery more challenging over time.

If you’re feeling like you can’t make any progress in this regard, consider contacting your card issuer (or issuers) and asking about payment plans that ease the monthly obligation.

Credit counselors also can be helpful in spelling out options you may not have considered, or even helping negotiate better terms with creditors.

These are tough times — but they will pass.

You don’t want to be left with a mountain of debt when the economic sun finally comes out again.


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