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Credit card debt and minimum payments don’t mix

Illinois consumers use credit cards for all kinds of reasons. Some prefer to keep one on hand in case of emergencies while others use them to fund large purchases. But even the most focused consumer can easily find him or herself buried underneath a mountain of credit card debt.

Interest is one of the biggest barriers to getting those credit card balances down to zero, but it is not the only factor at play. Minimum payments also help keep consumers trapped in what seems like a never-ending cycle. Making only the minimum monthly payments means that a person is not only taking longer to pay off his or her balance, but is also paying a lot more interest over time.

Considering that the average adult in America is carrying about $6,194 on credit cards, this means that a lot of people are paying much more than they borrowed. For example, considering the average 16.61% interest rate plus a minimum payment of 1% of the balance with interest or $35 — whichever is larger — it can take as long as 17 years for the average consumer to pay off his or her credit card. Not only would that person spend nearly two decades making monthly payments, but he or she would also shell out an additional $7,286 just in interest.

While it might sound like a good idea to always stay ahead of monthly minimum payments, the world is not a perfect place. There are some people in Illinois who simply cannot spare any extra or who might not be able to afford the minimum in the first place. Whether it be for credit card debt, auto loans or more, anyone who is struggling with making monthly payments and rapidly falling behind may want to consider the possible benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy and debt relief.