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Credit card interest payments top $100 billion

Collectively, U.S. consumers, including millions in California, owed $1.03 trillion in revolving debt as of April 2018, and much of that came in the form of credit card balances. There is $687 billion in credit card debt that is held on a monthly basis according to MagnifyMoney. In 2017, Americans paid a total of $104 billion in interest and fees, which was an 11 percent increase from the year before.

The Federal Reserve has planned to raise interest rates four times in 2018, which would add to the amount that people will pay in the form of credit card interest. There have already been two increases as of July, and there are expected to be two more before the end of the year. The latest rate hike in June pushed interest rates to between 1.75 and 2 percent, and it is expected to cost debtors $2.2 billion.

If all four planned rate hikes take place in 2018, it would result in an additional $110 billion in interest payments. When the Fed raises rates, banks tend to pass along those rate hikes to consumers. However, it is likely that those who have variable rate mortgages will notice the hikes more than those who have credit card debt. This is because their monthly payments should only increase by a few dollars per month.

Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may help an individual overcome his or her credit card debt. It can also be an effective way to retain property such as a house or a car. An automatic stay precludes creditors from calling, emailing or otherwise contacting a debtor directly. An attorney can outline the eligibility requirements associated with this form of debt relief.

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