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Average Credit Card Debt On The Rise

Americans have increased their credit card debt over the past year, but the average amount owed remains far lower than it was just three years ago, according to new data from TransUnion, one of the big credit bureaus.

The average credit card debt per borrower now stands at $4,971, up about $300 from a year ago.

It’s alarming to see the average balance as high as it is. Let’s hope we’re not returning to our pre-recession spending ways.

This, however, might not be a sign that more people are turning to credit cards as a last financial resort, when they don’t have enough cash to put food on the table.

That’s because the delinquency rate (the percentage of borrowers 90 days or more past due) has dropped slightly over the past three months, TransUnion reported. That decline tends to mean people are able to at least keep up with the minimum monthly payments.

However, if you made just the minimum monthly payment, it would take 11 1/2 years to pay off this debt, assuming your card carries an annual percentage rate of 14.97%, which is the national average APR, according to CreditCards.com.

Your total interest paid would be $2,191.

Use our credit card optimizer to help you pay down your high-interest credit cards.

If you have several thousands of dollars in credit card debt (but still have a good credit score), you might want to consider applying for a card that offers cheap balance transfers.

We have several credit card offers in our database:

  • Discover More Card offers 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers. You’ll be charged a onetime fee of 3% of the balance you transfer.
  • Capital One offers a couple of cards with 0% APR until November 2013 on balance transfers. You’ll be charged a onetime fee of 3% on these cards as well.
  • Slate from Chase offers both 0% APR and no transfer fee on balances you bring over within 60 days. The 0% interest lasts for 15 months.

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