CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - For the eleventh straight month, shoppers have cut their credit card usage. While that sounds like good news, experts attribute the drop to joblessness.
Americans still owe an astounding $866 billion in credit card debt, a number that only grows the longer people struggle to pay off those cards.
The average family has accrued about $7,500 in credit card debt. Most fall into a vicious cycle of paying only the minimum.
We found a web site that helps you figure out what it will take to pay those cards off and how long it will take.
Bankrate.com is a free web site. They make their money from credit card and bank ads, but they have some great tools for calculating just how much you owe.
We spoke with a credit counselor at United Family Services who says used properly, bankrate.com, can be a big help in climbing out of the hole of credit card debt.
The site has a debt management field that walks you through all the different scenarios.
For example, they have a feature that tells you how much to add to your minimum payment due to see a balance of zero.
We entered a debt of $5,000 at a rate of 15 percent. We found that if we bumped up the minimum payment due by $100 a month, we cut the payoff time by two decades.
That's right, increasing your payment by $100 a month might get you out of debt 20 years sooner.