Report Shows Fewer People Taking on Credit Card Debt
According to a report issued by the American Bankers' Association, the recession that began in 2008 has influenced the way that consumers use their credit cards. Those who struggle with credit card debts can follow some simple steps to reduce their debts, but those with overwhelming credit card debts may want to consider bankruptcy as a means for reorganizing their finances.
Recession impacted borrowing habits
The ABA's most recent Credit Card Market Monitor report analyzed data from the last quarter of 2013 and revealed that more people are paying off their credit card balances monthly. According to the report, credit card debt as a percentage of disposable income fell to 5.2 percent - the lowest level in more than 10 years. The number of people who pay off their full balances each month, called "transactors" in the report, increased to 29 percent of credit cardholders. This number is the highest on record. Additionally, the number of people who carry monthly balances on their credit cards dropped slightly to 41.7 percent.
Eliminating credit card debt
Although the report showed that more people are paying off their credit card balances, it also showed that a significant number of people still carry balances from month to month. There are some steps that you can follow to pay off your credit card bills. The first thing to do is to stop using your credit cards and amassing more debt. Then you should create a monthly budget for yourself that allocates a certain amount of your monthly income to paying down your credit card bills. It is easier to stick to your budget if you use a method of tracking your spending such as an online money management tool or even a simple spreadsheet.
It is important to make sure that you pay more than the minimum monthly amount that your card requires. If you only pay the minimum amount, it could take years for you to pay off the balance, and you will be losing money because of the interest charges. If you cannot cut back your current expenses to make a meaningful dent in your credit card balances, you may want to look for ways to earn more money such as getting overtime at your current job or getting a second job.
If your credit card bills and other debts are too large for you to repay by cutting your expenses and working more, you should consider other options to reorganize your finances. You may want to consolidate your debts or negotiate settlements with your creditors. Alternatively, if debt settlement is not an option, you may want to file for bankruptcy so that you can eliminate many of your unsecured debts in the bankruptcy discharge. If you have questions about which debt relief option is most appropriate for your situation, speak with a seasoned debt relief attorney who can help you explore the possibilities for debt relief.
At Illini Legal Services, we offer a free, no-obligation consultation to each of our clients. During your consultation, we will take the time to listen to your financial concerns and assess your case and individual situation. We have five locations to serve you. Contact us today for help!
Illini Legal Services is engaged in the private practice of law and is not a public legal aid agency. We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.