Card debt still choking low, middle incomes
News from Chicago Tribune:

Americans have been successful at getting some of their debts off their backs, but many still have a long way to go.

Low- and middle-income people are finding an escape difficult as they pay interest on top of interest. Forty percent have turned to their credit cards to cover basic living expenses such as rent, mortgage bills, groceries and utilities, according to a national survey by think tank Demos. Those surveyed were low- and middle-income people who carried a balance on their credit cards for at least three months.

Credit cards have been a safety net as people have lost jobs since 2008 and faced the pressure of high gas prices, said Amy Traub, senior policy analyst for Demos.

The 2008 financial crisis was a brutal wake-up call for many, as banks abruptly shut down cards and cut debt limits at the same time companies were tossing millions out of work. About 39 percent of households surveyed by Demos experienced some cuts in their credit, and about half of those reduced spending as a result. But 28 percent have taken on more debt in the last year.

Now, the average debt on cards held by low- and middle-income people is $ 7,145, compared with $ 9,887 in 2008, according to the survey. Fifty-one percent said cost-of-living expenses contributed most to their current card debt.

Some bought dubious debt-protection pro…………… continues on Chicago Tribune

… Read the full article

Related News:

Consumers successfully cutting credit card debt since downturn ended
News from Debtmerica Relief:

Consumers have been very conscientious in making sure to reduce their outstanding credit card debt over the last few years and now stand in far better financial positions since the end of the recession.

Balances on consumer credit cards issued by financial institutions stood at $ 531 billion in April, according to the latest National Consumer Credit Trends Report from the credit monitoring bureau Equifax. That’s down roughly 28 percent from the all-time high of more than $ 730 billon observed in January 2009.

Meanwhile, the amount owed on retail credit cards has largely remained the same, at least on a seasonally-adjusted basis, has remained more or less the same, but has done so despite there being more than 173 million such accounts nationwide, up 4.7 percent from December 2010, the report said. And as of April, the available credit limits on these accounts has jumped by roughly $ 5 billion in total after hitting an all-time low at the end of last year.

Consumers are getting their finances on track in a variety of ways over the last few years, leading to fewer seeking out debt relief services.

…………… continues on Debtmerica Relief

… Read the full article