People who are struggling with debt in Tennessee are not alone. The Household Debt and Credit report indicates that debt tied to credit cards rose by $14 billion during the second quarter of 2018 in the U.S. The average annual percentage rate on credit card debt is nearly 17 percent. Penalty APRs, which may apply after a missed payment, can be 30 percent or higher.

The country’s total consumer debt is just beneath $14 trillion. Of that debt, $9.43 trillion is housing debt. According to the Consumer Credit Default Composite Index, a metric that accounts for mortgage, auto and credit card defaults, overall rates of default have remained steady for three years. In May 2009, the index hit a high of 5.51 before dropping down below 1.0 for approximately three years thereafter.

The credit card index hit a high point of 9.15 in April 2015, then steadily declined to 2.49 by December 2015. The decline in the index numbers makes sense as a reflection of tightening credit nationwide. Following a surge in credit card defaults tied to the recession, credit was extended only to those who had strong credit scores. As time has separated the U.S. from the tightening of the recession, credit card debts again cover a diverse group of more or less risky borrowers.

People in Tennessee who carry major credit card debt might want to speak with a lawyer. A lawyer with experience in bankruptcy law might be able to help by examining and organizing the client’s debts and suggesting possible solutions. In some cases, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection might allow the client to keep his or her assets and repay debts on an affordable schedule. An attorney might draft and file a petition to begin a bankruptcy case or communicate with officials on the client’s behalf.