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Studies show credit card debt is on the rise

Credit card debt may have risen over the last year for some people in Florida. A study by WalletHub found that in 2017, credit card debt nationwide rose by $92.2 billion and reached its highest levels since before the Great Recession in 2007. Much of that increase happened in the final quarter of the year when the additional $67.6 billion in debt represented the highest increase in a single quarter in 30 years. The Federal Reserve estimates that the total national credit card debt is around $1 trillion.

From 2015 to 2016, credit card debt went from $43 billion to $87 billion. This rapid growth might be because there are more customers who cannot pay their credit card bills and low charge-offs. Banks are extending loans to customers with lower credit scores, unlike during the recession when they tightened their regulations on who could borrow money.

The average credit card debt per household by the end of 2017 was $8,600. WalletHub reports that almost two-thirds of people claim that their credit card debt is at least partly attributed to medical bills.Data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicates that out-of-pocket medical costs for Americans totaled $338 billion in 2015.

Individuals who are struggling with debt might want to talk to an attorney about debt relief. Bankruptcy may be one of their options. Some people hesitate to file for bankruptcy because of several myths about the process. For example, people may think filing for bankruptcy is irresponsible, but unmanageable debt can happen for many reasons that are outside of a person's control, including job loss, illness and divorce. Bankruptcy also does not mean that someone will lose all his or her assets. With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, some assets are exempt. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows an individual to keep some of his or her assets and pay creditors on a payment plan over a period of three to five years.

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