Credit card debt is one of the hardest to repay bills for millions of Americans. After losing your job or another financial catastrophe, paying for everything with your credit cards may be your only option. The bills spiral past what you can afford. The interest charges become unbearable. Soon, you are struggling just to make the minimum monthly payments.

Uncontrollable credit card debt often gets worse during economic downturns. So it is a good sign that credit card debt in the U.S. has actually gone down during the current recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic shutdown experienced here in Pennsylvania and nationwide. In fact, after reaching a record high in February, the country’s total credit card debt has dipped below $1 trillion for the first time in nearly three years.

Why has this happened?

One likely reason people are using their credit cards less is the shutdown of bars and restaurants for most of the spring. Also, with unemployment so high, it appears that many of us are choosing to spend less and wait out the shutdown. It is probably not a coincidence that so many national retailers have declared bankruptcy or laid off workers in recent months; people are not spending as much on clothing other items as they normally would. Instead, they are paying down their debt.

Is credit card debt still dragging you down?

If you have been spending less on your credit cards during the pandemic, it may help your financial situation, especially if you have been able to pay down some of your interest and principle. But if you had significant debt before COVID-19 reached Pennsylvania, it is unlikely that you will be able to get out of debt on your own.

Bankruptcy could be the best way for you to get past your debt problems. Consult a bankruptcy attorney for more information about Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.