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Credit Cards: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Do you have a love-hate relationship with your credit cards? Most Americans do. According to Experian’s latest State of Credit report, the average U.S. consumer holds about two bank-issued credit cards and carries a total balance of $5,551. That’s a lot of money, especially if you’re paying interest of 15% to 20%.

Since so many consumers hold credit cards with high balances, it is important to understand the good, the bad and the ugly behind these seemingly innocuous cards.

The Good

Credit cards have some pretty amazing advantages for those who manage them in a healthy manner. Having a credit card means more purchasing options such as over the phone, the internet, or even in person. Using cash for payments limits the amount and type of purchases one can make. Credit cards also allow for paying in installments, thus giving your credit a boost and allowing for some wiggle room in emergencies.

The Bad

Unfortunately, credit cards have some fairly negative impacts as well. Credit cards are a constant temptation to spend more than you can afford. The terms and fees can also be confusing and expensive. Misuse can easily turn into damage for your credit score and mounting debt.

The Ugly

Sadly, credit card debt is a leading cause of consumer bankruptcy. Racking up excessive credit card debt can be the beginning of a downward spiral that is hard to recover from. For example, if a medical emergency occurs and your credit cards are maxed out, where do you turn? Thankfully, both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy can wipe out or reorganize credit card debt, with a few exceptions.

How do you decide if bankruptcy is right for you once you have overwhelming credit card debt? There are some options to consider before filing. Before you do anything about credit card debt bankruptcy, make sure to get information about all of your options and the impact each will have on your life. For helpful bankruptcy and credit card debt advice, you can contact the certified professionals at American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC).

If you still feel as though bankruptcy may be the best choice for your situation, call the Law Office of Barry R. Levine today by phone at 978-922-8440, or visit our website at