Millions of Americans have revolving credit card debt. The rate of interest on credit card debt is usually very high in relation to other types of debt. These rates can vary. Many credit card rates are affected by the Federal Reserve’s benchmark rate. This means that when this rate rises, so does the interest rate on affected credit cards and consumers holding these cards must pay more interest. The Federal Reserve has recently increased its rate and more increases are expected.
According to CreditCards.com, the average credit card interest rate is currently 17.01 percent. One year ago, the average rate was 16.15 percent and two years ago the average rate stood at 15.22 percent. So, if this trend continues, carrying a balance on your credit cards is going to take a bigger bite out of your wallet. The average amount of credit card debt per American household is $5,700.00 according to the Federal Reserve. So, at 17.01 percent average interest rate, the change will be noticeable.
You CAN Ask for Help
If you are getting squeezed by credit card debt, you might consider contacting your card issuer and asking for some help. In a survey by CreditCards.com, 84 percent of card holders who asked for a late payment fee to be waived got the fee waived. Another 70 percent of card holders who asked for the annual fee to be waived or reduced got what they asked for. And 56 percent of card holders received a lower interest rate when they asked for it.
Another self-help strategy for dealing with credit card debt is to locate a card that allows balance transfers to be made with little or no interest for a period. If you opt for this strategy, you can begin to aggressively pay down the balances transferred. You will get more bang for the buck because, at least for a while, you aren’t paying any interest.
If self-help doesn’t work, it’s probably time to speak to a debt relief attorney. Generally speaking, credit card debt can be easily modified or eliminated entirely in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding. Make sure you consult with a reputable attorney and go over all your options before you make your decision.
Ed Woods is the Managing Attorney of several of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Mississippi. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law. Ed puts his extensive knowledge of bankruptcy law to use defending consumers from debt collection lawsuits and more. Read his full bio here.