If it seems like the amount due on your monthly credit card bills is going up as fast as the price of a gallon of gas, you're right.
And you're not alone.
According to the Federal Reserve, consumer credit rose in March by $15.3 billion, more than double the $6 million figure predicted by economists. The combined forces of higher prices and an economy teetering near recession have joined to compel consumers to amass even more credit card and other debt.
The amount Americans borrowed in the first quarter of 208 totaled $34 billion, the most since the first quarter of 2001, when the last U.S. recession began. As we previously reported, many believe another recession is looming.
The six principal credit card lenders in the U.S. reported the highest amount of overdue payments since November 2004, with an average of 4.11 percent of payments at least 30 days late.
Not only are those credit card bills rising, but it's getting harder to pay them.
Consumer spending, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of all economic growth, grew at its slowest pace since the 2001 recession during the first three months of the year. At the same time, total borrowing rose at an annual rate of 7.2 percent in March. The Federal Reserve also reported that more banks are making it harder for both individuals and companies to borrow the money they need.
With the increase in defaults on mortgage payments and the decline in home values to less than appraised values, about half of U.S. banks reported tightening terms on home-equity loans, which are not counted in the consumer debt figures. As a result, credit card debt is the answer for many consumers who don't have other borrowing options such as a home equity loan to fall back on.
Perhaps you've been focused on paying the mortgage each month, charging more items to your credit cards in order to ensure you have enough money in the bank for that huge payment.
Or maybe you've been doing your best to change your shopping habits, but you can't get around those high gas and food prices.
Whether you have just lost your job, seen a spike in the amount of your adjustable rate mortgage, worry about losing your home, or just can't make ends meet anymore, you may need someone to assist you in discovering the best options for you and your family.
So if those huge credit card bills are keeping you from sleeping at night, consider speaking with a Total Bankruptcy sponsoring attorney to learn whether filing bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code may be able to help with your current credit card debt. Our number is 877-349-1309, and you may also use our secure online case evaluation form to be connected with a local bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible.