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Online survey suggests that credit-card debt is highest since '09

Here is one sign that the economy is improving: credit card debt is going up again. This could mean that more people will soon find themselves in trouble with their credit card bills.

According to WCTV-TV, a survey conducted by online credit card comparison site CardHub found that the average credit card balance is currently $7,177. If that figure is accurate, it would be the highest average credit card debt since 2009, the height of the most recent recession in the United States.

During that time, the number of people with credit card debt has dropped significantly, from 44 percent of the population to 34 percent. That means that fewer people are shouldering the debt than before, suggesting that it will be even more difficult for them to get out from under.

The economy could be a factor. People who cut back during the uncertain job market of 2008 and 2009 may now feel more comfortable spending money, and may not realize how much they are putting on their credit cards.

It can be a scary situation when credit card bills are out of control, and the credit card company or a debt collector is calling. But it is important to remember that the process of debt collection is constrained by law. Harassment, threats and intimidation are against the law, and victims can take legal action if necessary.

This does not necessarily mean going through with a lawsuit. Often, just the threat of a suit will cause a debt collector to back off, and do its job legally.

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