High Interest Rates and Credit Card Debt

July 13, 2006 -- Posted at 5:31 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Just last month, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the 17th consecutive time.

One major effect higher interest rates have on most consumers is higher interest on their credit cards.

"When folks are paying back their credit card debt, they can literally be going further into debt by paying minimum monthly payments," said Garry Patterson, a credit specialist for Clear Point Financial Solutions.

"It makes the items cost so much more, so they have to buy less, or they get themselves in trouble," said shopper Vicki Reddick.

And higher interest rates have a big impact on the extra amount we have to pay in each month on credit card payments.

"Increasing interest rates are probably at an all time high.  People may start out with reasonable rates on their credit card, but when they begin to fall behind, the interest rates can go literally over 30%," said Patterson.

What can we do to fight the ever increasing rates?

"If people are smart about credit cards, and only put on them what they can pay off in a month that doesn't effect them at all," said Reddick.

But not every one can stop with what they ''can'' afford.  There are always other expenses.

"Typically, it's going to be for periodical expenses like clothing, gifts, and emergencies.  If you have a family, you're going to have periodic expenses... everybody has those," said Patterson.

"Credit's not bad.  It's good to have credit, but you have to learn how to use it wisely," said Reddick.

If you find yourself sinking further and further into debt you have to stop the cycle.

"The first thing that you need to do is stop using the credit cards," said Patterson.

For more information about credit card debt, or to get help call 1-800-REPAY DEBT or log onto:  www.clearpointfinancialsolutions.org