CREDIT CARDS

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS -

Even a quar­ter-point hike could have a mar­ginal im­pact on mil­lions of Amer­i­cans. The av­er­age U.S. credit card bal­ance is $5,437, ac­cord­ing to Tran­sUnion, and rates on credit cards could inch higher af­ter a rise in the fed­eral funds rate — as could the rates on home eq­uity lines of credit, ad­justable-rate mort­gages and per­sonal loans. Tran­sUnion es­ti­mates that 92 mil­lion Amer­i­cans could see debt pay­ments rise as a re­sult of a quar­ter-point rate in­crease. On av­er­age, they’ll pay $6.45 more a month, while 1 per­cent will see debt pay­ments rise more than $50. That’s not af­ford­able for ev­ery­one. Tran­sUnion es­ti­mates that 9.3 mil­lion con­sumers could have trou­ble mak­ing the ex­tra debt pay­ments, and that num­ber could spike if rates con­tinue to in­crease. One op­tion for con­sumers with a lot of debt is to trans­fer bal­ances to a card with a lower rate.

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