Credit card debt now tops $1 trillion for the first time — a sign that millions of Americans are putting everyday purchases on plastic amid the highest consumer prices in years.
How much debt is the typical cardholder carrying? Credit agency TransUnion crunched the numbers and found that the average balance now runs about $6,000. That’s the highest level in a decade.
My first piece of advice in this regard is to pay down your balance as quickly as possible. Keep in mind average interest rates for most cards now top 20%.
My second piece of advice is to not get caught in the trap of making minimum payments on your balance.
Make no mistake, the credit card industry would love you to do just that, and for good reason. You’ll just be handing them free money.
Lots of free money.
Here’s what you’re up against: If you’re running a balance of $6,000 and make only minimum payments each month, it will take 17 years to get out of debt.
No less worrisome, you’ll end up paying about $8,000 in interest over that time, on top of your $6,000 in debt.
That’s something card issuers would prefer you didn’t know.
Now you do.