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Is this rise in credit card debt a good or bad economic sign?

Credit cards: some use them to pay for big ticket items, while others use them for day-to-day spending. And while these cards certainly come in handy when it comes to making purchases, these same cards can also drive a person further and further into debt.

According to the Federal Reserve, December 2011 marked the fourth month in a row that credit card debt was on the rise. Additionally, it's been reported that many consumers used their credit cards to make holiday purchases. In fact, the months of November and December saw a combined rise of $8.5 billion in revolving debt, which is largely made up of credit card debt.

The rising level of debt from credit cards has financial analysts confused. While it could be indicative of consumers' growing confidence in the economy, it could also indicate that consumers are struggling to the point they must turn to credit cards to help them make every day purchases and pay their bills.

In the end, whether this increase in credit card debt is a positive or a negative, one thing that's for sure is that consumers are starting 2012 earning the same amount of money, but with a higher level of credit card debt. This could end up leading to late payments and delinquencies.

Overall, if you are a consumer who has found yourself unable to pay back your credit card purchases, don't just let your finances continue to spiral out of control. Instead, talk with a debt relief attorney who is experienced working with consumers who have credit card debt. This way, you can learn what options may be available to either pay back that debt, or have that debt discharged.

Source: Forbes, "Credit Card Debt Continues to Rise," Bill Hardekopf, Feb. 10, 2012

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