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Credit card debt creeps near 2007 levels

Residents throughout Louisiana and the rest of the United States have racked up a cumulative credit card debt of more than $1 trillion. In 2017, Americans accrued $92.2 billion in additional debt, which was the most since 2007. It also represents an increase in debt from $43 billion in 2015 and $87 billion in 2016. This surge may be attributed to the fact that banks have loosened their guidelines since the Great Recession as charge-off rates have declined.

As a result, delinquency rates have increased to 7.5 percent. This may be a sign that debtors should make paying their balances off a priority. One of the major reasons why Americans have made greater use of their credit cards is because of medical debt. In 2015, they paid $338 billion in the form of copays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. Of those surveyed by WalletHub, 62.3 percent said that their debt was related at least in part to medical spending.

Overall, the average American household owes $8,600 in credit card debt. This is up 6 percent from an average of $8,131 in the fourth quarter of 2016. There was also an increase of 16 percent in overall spending in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to one year earlier. In the last quarter of 2017, Americans accrued $67.6 billion in credit card debt.

Filing for bankruptcy may be an effective way to deal with credit card debt. An attorney can help those struggling with debt understand what either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy might do for them, such as putting a temporary stop to a repossession or foreclosure.

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