More Americans are Racking up Credit Card Debt

Findings published by Bankrate on Monday indicate that nearly half of credit card holders – about 49% – are carrying credit card debt from month to month. That marks a sharp increase from just two years ago, when about 39% of Americans with credit cards carried debt from month to month.

More than half of Americans carrying credit card debt have done so for over a year.

Even more concerning is that of those holding credit card debt, 10% do not think they will ever be able to pay off their bills. Another 25% expect they will pay off their debt at some point – but that it will be at least five years in the future.

The Bankrate survey comes shortly after the New York Federal Reserve reported that total credit card debt surged to $1.08 trillion in the three-month period from July to September, an increase of $48 billion, or 4.6% from the previous quarter. It marks the highest level on record in Fed data dating back to 2003 and the eighth consecutive annual increase.

The rise in credit card usage and debt is particularly concerning because interest rates are astronomically high right now. The average credit card annual percentage rate, or APR, hit a new record of 20.72% last week, according to a Bankrate database that goes back to 1985. The previous record was 19% in July 1991.