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Average credit card balances

Arkansas readers might be interested in a recent article discussing credit card debt. According to the report, it can be very difficult to determine the credit card balance held by the average individual, and a number of sources report different figures.

These figures might vary because the different metrics used to determine the average, and the information used by each source might also have an effect on the end result. Other factors that might skew the numbers might include how the type of data included in the calculations. Individuals who only have low limits may skew the results lower, and some consumers accumulate balances and pay off the total at the end of each period, which might inflate figures.

For example, three different websites used three different methods to arrive at an average number. The first found that a person who has credit card debt has an average balance of $10,902, but a second source claimed that the average cardholder owed about $5,047. A third source suggested that the average household carries a balance of $7,087.

The focus on determining the averages highlights the salience of credit card debt. Many individuals might accrue large balances easily but might find it difficult to pay off the balances. While a number of different strategies, such as using balance transfers, the snowball method or debt settlement, might help a consumer manage their debt, some individuals might benefit from considering bankruptcy.

Filing for bankruptcy might provide debt relief and protection from creditors. However, the filing process can be complicated, and the different types of bankruptcy provide different benefits. An attorney who is familiar with the process could help a client file the action and might provide guidance throughout proceedings.

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

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