Inflation has low-income households taking risks with loans, credit

Inflation has low-income households taking risks with loans, credit

Some Americans are relying on credit cards to make ends meet.

Linda Hampton was already struggling to pay her credit card bills in 2021 because of business expenses. Then soaring inflation pushed her to put everything on credit. She has since been able to trim her balance.
  • Consumer borrowing is surging as inflation hovers near 40-year highs and Americans resume pre-pandemic activities like traveling and dining out.
  • A growing share of those cash-strapped households are behind on payments for car loans, credit cards and personal loans.
  • Total household debt is still historically low.

Linda Hampton was already struggling to pay her credit card bills last year because of thousands of dollars in expenses from her notary business.

Then inflation began skyrocketing in mid-2021, especially gas, utility and grocery prices.

“I just started using my credit card for everything,” Hampton says, even for a combined electric, natural gas and water bill that has more than doubled since 2020 and hit $864 last month.  

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