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How much are Americans using their credit cards?

Like millions of Americans, many Escondido residents probably have at least one credit card. Some have more than one. And, like many others throughout the country, some of our Escondido readers are probably struggling with the best way to manage their credit as the country's economic malaise continues.

Those who find themselves in this type of situation may be interested in a financial report which was released recently. According to the report, there are now more than 300 million open credit card accounts in America. And right alongside the increasing number of credit card accounts is the rising limit on those accounts, which currently sits at approximately $1.87 trillion. However, even though those limits are rising, the report also indicated that consumers are using only approximately 22 percent of the available credit they have.

These figures indicate that many people are beginning to approach the issue of debt - credit card debt in particular - with more caution. Some experts have stated that this caution may reflect the attitude consumers have in regards to the national economy, and whether the recovery from the recent recession has taken ahold firmly yet. The going theory is that a rise in the use of credit cards would reflect an increasing consumer confidence in the economy and the ability to repay debt.

Although many are getting their credit card balances under control, there are still untold numbers of families who are struggling, and are being forced to use their credit cards just to make ends meet. And, when the credit card balances become unmanageable, many will start to look for options. When the crush of debt feels like too much to handle, bankruptcy can be the best option in a bad situation.

Source: Fox Business, "Credit Card Limits Increase, While Balances Drop in Many Major Cities," Joe Taylor Jr., Oct. 25, 2012

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