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More people paying off credit card debt, research shows

Using credit cards is one of the easiest way to rack up thousands of dollars in debt. This is especially true if a person in Pennsylvania encounters a financial emergency that requires use of a credit card. However, credit card debt is one of the hardest types of debt to eradicate because of the high-interest rates often tacked onto these cards. Research shows that an increasing number of people in America realize this and are becoming more conservative in their credit card usage.

The portion of card users who paid off their balances completely jumped slightly during the last three months of 2013, now lingering at 29 percent. Although the increase is not necessarily monumental, it does show that Americans are trying to be more responsible with their cards. In addition, delinquencies related to banking institution credit cards was a little under 2.5 percent in early 2014; this is lower than the 3.82 percent average over a 15-year period.

Before the Great Recession in 2008, Americans used credit cards frequently; in fact, debt increased by nearly 90 percent during the 10-year period leading up to the crisis. This happened because savings and real wages remained stagnant. Many people at the time spent more than they could afford and struggled to keep up with their payments when the American economy collapsed. Americans during the past few years have been working to rebound from this situation by paying off their cards.

Although some people in Pennsylvania may have managed to stay on top of their debt, others may struggle to overcome their exorbitant debt levels due to inadequate wages. When an individual doesn't feel that he or she can win a seemingly endless battle against credit card debt, filing for personal bankruptcy may be a feasible solution. Getting one’s extensive debt discharged can quickly give a person a much-needed new lease on his or her financial life.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Sobered by the crisis, Americans keep their credit cards in check", Danielle Douglas, July 13, 2014

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