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Determining the average household credit card debt in America

Arizona residents who are dealing with credit card debt may be interested in statistics about American credit card debt. Determining the exact number poses some problems, however. While many different companies gather data and attempt to determine the average American's credit card debt, the answer is not that simple.

There are many variables that can deliver different results, including what is actually included in the definition of credit card debt. For instance, some question whether store and gas station credit cards should be included, since their balances are often very low and can artificially expand the existing pool of credit card users. Also, those who pay off the entire balance of their credit card debt every month still have their balances included in these averages, even though the debt isn't sustained over time.

One company, CreditCards.com, looked at the data from various positions. It discovered that, while the average household has taken on $7,100 in credit card debt, the average adult in America is carrying just $5,047. With a larger pool including any adult in the U.S. who has a reported credit rating and a Social Security number, the average was only $2,720. The company also separated data between those who pay off their balance every month and those who carry a balance, with the former being only $1,037 and the latter being $8,220.

Experts recommend a snowball approach to paying off credit card debt, starting with the smallest balance and then rolling that monthly payment into paying down others. For those who cannot meet the financial challenges of credit card debt, filing for bankruptcy may be a way out. An attorney may be able to help with the bankruptcy process, from filing to repairing credit afterwards.

Source: Daily Finance, "Is Your Credit Card Debt Average? And What's Average?", Michele Lerner, June 11, 2014

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