The Cost of Carrying Credit Card Debt to Society

Written By Melissa Cook
May 11, 2018
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Credit card debt comes with an obvious burden: cost. Between annual fees, interest and other finance charges, a credit card can cost thousands of dollars to use in just one year. This has a big impact on credit debt and society.

Of course, how much you pay for credit depends on the specific rates you get, your balance and how long it takes you to pay off your debt. The smartest and most responsible card users avoid most, if not all, finance charges.

But there are other, less obvious costs associated with carrying credit card debt. Consumers often don’t realize that using credit cards can take a heavy toll on society as well, and not just in the monetary sense.

Before we discuss those societal costs, however, some context is needed. American consumers these days have much easier access to plastic. Credit access dipped sharply since the height of the Great Recession but has climbed steadily since.

As a result, America’s collective credit card tab has also grown within the same period — to the tune of $834 billion as of the fourth quarter of 2017. That figure is now just over $30 billion away from the highest total ever recorded, at the end of 2008.

According to one study, however, the expansion of credit accessibility has been a trend for decades — not just the past several years. “Many scholars argue that credit and debt has replaced income growth in a time of stagnant or declining incomes for many American families,” wrote the study’s authors.

The consequences? The authors found that more credit and debt has led to “increased vulnerability in the face of unexpected shocks such as unemployment, divorce, or illness” and “increased stress levels.”

Indeed, Americans worry a lot about their credit card debts — quite possibly on a daily basis — especially less affluent consumers who feel they must rely on credit to make ends meet. It’s therefore not surprising that money is the second most common source of stress. And the majority of those who feel stressed experience physical and psychological symptoms that lead to other problems in life such as injury or difficulties at work.

Stress — caused by financial concerns, among other sources — costs society an estimated $300 billion per year.

Are you paying for high credit card debt in other ways like stress or illness? Americor can help by giving you a FREE debt analysis of your current financial situation.


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We provide debt resolution services. Our clients who make all monthly program payments save approximately 40 – 50% of their enrolled debt (average of 43%) upon successful program completion, before program fees. Fees are based on a percentage of your enrolled debt at the time of starting the program and range from 15%-25% of your enrolled debt. Programs range from 20-48 months. Clients must save at least 25% of each debt due to an enrolled creditor before a bona fide settlement offer will be made. On average, clients receive their first settlement within 4-7 months of enrollment and approximately every 3-6 months thereafter from when the prior debt was settled. Not all Clients complete the program. Estimates are based on prior results and may not match your results. We cannot guarantee that your debts will be resolved for a specific amount or percentage or within a specific timeframe. We do not assume your debts, make monthly payments to creditors or provide tax, bankruptcy, accounting, legal advice or credit repair services. Our program is not available in all states; fees may vary by state. Some programs may be offered through The Law Firm of Higbee & Associates d/b/a Advantage Law. The use of debt resolution services will likely adversely affect your credit. You may be subject to collections or lawsuits by creditors or collectors. Your outstanding debt may increase from the accrual of fees and interest. Any amount of debt forgiven by your creditors may be subject to income tax. Clients may withdraw from the program at any time without penalty and receive all funds from their dedicated account, other than funds earned by the company or fees paid to third-party service providers, as may be applicable. Read and understand all program materials prior to enrolling. Certain types of debts are not eligible for enrollment. Some creditors are not eligible for enrollment because they do not negotiate with debt relief companies. To determine the offers you may be eligible for, Americor conducts a “soft credit pull.” This credit pull does not impact your credit score, creditworthiness, or ability to obtain credit from other sources. The soft pull is not a tradeline entry, it does not report against your score and will only take a few minutes.

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