The amount of money U.S. consumers owe to credit card companies reached almost $900 billion at the end of 2018 according to a recent report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which means that the total revolving debt in the United States is now more than $100 billion higher than it was before the recession. Most of this new debt is currently being racked up by borrowers with either prime or super-prime credit ratings, but credit card spending is increasing the fastest among consumers in Oregon and across the company with lower credit scores according to the CFPB.
Most experts believe that soaring credit card spending is being fueled by a booming economy and surging levels of consumer confidence. The United States is in the midst of its longest economic expansion ever, and unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in half a century. Rising salaries and low interest rates are also factors. Wages are expected to increase by 3.3% in 2020, and the cost of borrowing remains far below pre-recession levels.
However, the CFPB report contains several indicators that have alarmed financial analysts worried about a looming recession. Delinquencies, which are often the canary in the economic coal mine, are rising quickly, and credit card companies now report that there are more consumers seeking debt settlement than opening new accounts. The demand for new credit cards is also falling despite low interest rates, which some experts see as a sign of a pending economic slowdown.
Escaping the credit card trap can be extremely difficult for individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet. Attorneys with debt relief experience could explain how bankruptcy differs from debt settlement and point out the advantages and drawbacks of both options. Attorneys may also explain how filing a bankruptcy opens the door to a fresh start and puts an end to daily harassment from creditors and debt collectors.