MIAMI - A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows Americans are carrying a record $986 billion in credit card debt, up 17 percent from last year.
Inflation is causing many people to lean on credit cards to cover monthly expenses and most people are having to pay heavy interest on that debt.
"Credit card interest rates are crazy high, even by standard credit card terms," says LendingTree Chief Credit analyst Matt Schulz.
LendingTree says the average rate is about 21 percent, and the average balance is nearly $7,300. If you're only making minimum monthly payments, that would take almost five years to pay if off.
Jamie Feldman knows what it's like to struggle with credit cards, she racked up about $20,000 in debt.
"I have a lot of debt, it's partially because I was irresponsible with money and partially because I was never taught how to manage my money," Feldman said last year in a TikTok video.
She's since been documenting her efforts to get out of debt on social media. She developed a budget and used extra money to make higher monthly payments. She also got a new card with a 0% introductory rate. That gave her more than a year to pay down the loan without accruing more interest. Those steps helped Feldman cut her debt in half.
She is hoping to pay it all off in less than a year.
Experts also say that people struggling with debt can ask their credit card company for help.
"Another thing that people don't necessarily know that they can do is just call the credit card issuer and ask them to lower your rate," Schulz says.
A LendingTree survey found 76 percent of people who asked for a lower interest rate on one of their credit cards, got it.
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