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Credit Card Balances Reach Record High

The use of credit cards to afford necessary expenses such as food and rent has become increasingly common among consumers. As a result, credit card debt has reached a record high of $930.6 billion at the end of 2022, with the average balance being $5,805. This trend has led to concerns that households may be approaching a breaking point, beyond which their debt will become unsustainable. Delinquencies, or payments that are 60 days or more overdue, have already started to rise. This trend could continue if unemployment increases, leading to a longer-term problem. Credit card debt is particularly expensive, with APRs currently around 20% (higher if penalty interest has kicked in). If the Federal Reserve raises its benchmark interest rate, as it may do at its next meeting, credit card APRs will climb even higher. To tackle credit card debt, consumers should rein in spending, pay off debt, and avoid accumulating new debt. They could also consider zero percent balance transfer credit card offers or refinancing into a lower-interest personal loan.

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