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Why We Overspend: Information about Credit Card Debt

Almost all American adults own and use credit cards. Sometimes, we justify credit card use because of the “rewards” they offer. Free airline miles, cash back, and special deals seem like a good reason to use a credit card instead of cash or a debit card. These rewards, however, do not even begin to add up to increased amount that we spend when we use credit cards. Some studies have shown that people who use credit cards spend on average 47% more than if they use cash. Other times, we use credit cards because we want to spend more, usually outside of our means. When we do this, we psychologically “discount” the pain of payment later; events in the future do not seem as harmful as events in the present. Payment procrastination, however, only means that we end up paying more for each item we buy because then we also have to pay interest on the item. If you are facing credit card debt that you can’t pay, a San Antonio bankruptcy attorney at the Malaise Law Firm may be able to help.

Credit card companies rely on these factors to keep us spending. They further compound the problem by motivating us to spend beyond our budget, because they profit from the interest that our credit cards accumulate. They increase spending limits in the hopes that we will spend more; they decrease minimum payments in the hopes that we will pay less and owe more. They lure us in with low intro rates, and then hike them after a set period of time because they know that we “discount” how we will feel about this future increase. A San Antonio credit card debt lawyer can help you handle your debt and become more knowledgeable about credit card management.

Credit Card Debt Statistics

  • The total amount of American credit card debt as of 2010: $852.6 billion
  • The number of American households with credit card debt: 54 million
  • The average amount of credit card debt per in-debt household: $15,788
  • The average APR rate: 14.10%
  • The total number of credit cards in the US: 576.4 million
  • The total amount of penalty fees collected by credit card companies in 2009: $20.5 billion
  • The number of Americans who filed for bankruptcy in 2009: 1.4 million