Debt Dilemma Deepens: Survey Reveals 56 Million Americans in a Year-Long Credit Card Struggle

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In a startling revelation, a recent Bankrate survey uncovers that nearly half of American credit card users are burdened with lingering debt, a figure that has escalated by 10% since 2021. The Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes have contributed to an alarming trend, causing the average annual percentage rate (APR) on credit cards to reach a record high of 20.74% in 2023. This represents a significant increase of 4.44 percentage points from the early part of 2022.

credit card debt in america

The survey, encompassing 2,350 adults, of which 1,800 are credit cardholders, reveals a concerning picture: 56 million Americans have been trapped in credit card debt for over a year. While credit card debt is often associated with reckless spending, the reality is more nuanced. Emergencies and day-to-day expenses are the primary culprits, pushing Americans into a debt spiral, collectively owing over $1 trillion, as per the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s data.

How to Reduce Your Credit Card Debt, According to a Credit Expert

To combat this growing issue, experts from recommend a multipronged approach:

  1. Opt for Balance Transfer Cards: These cards offer a 0% interest period, providing breathing room to focus on principal repayment.
  2. Debt Consolidation: Combining multiple debts into a single loan with a lower interest rate can streamline payments.
  3. Effective Repayment Plans: Prioritizing debts, especially those with higher interest rates, can significantly reduce the overall interest paid.
  4. Negotiating with Creditors: Many credit card companies are open to renegotiating terms for more manageable payments.
  5. Budgeting and Expense Management: Analyzing and cutting back on unnecessary expenses can free up funds for debt repayment.
  6. Extra Income Streams: Side hustles or selling unused items can generate additional funds to pay off debts faster.
  7. Seek Professional Help: Credit counseling agencies, such as, can negotiate with creditors on your behalf, helping you create a realistic budget and repayment plan.

This year’s average APR of 20.74% marks a historic peak. Comparatively, early 2022 saw rates at a significantly lower 16.30%. Pyramid Credit Repair’s Credit Expert, Scott Hamilton, highlights inflation as a key factor intensifying the debt burden, noting a concerning trend of individuals carrying larger debts for prolonged periods.