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Would you sic a debt collector on a friend or family member?

Would you sic a debt collector on a friend, family member?

It's ugly, but if the debt's big, you may have few other choices. For a fee, collection agencies will go after Uncle Joe for you.

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Infographic: The face of senior card debt

Debt of most types is on the rise for America's seniors, and credit card debt is no exception.

Roughly a third of households headed by someone age 60 or older carried some card debt during the years 2004-2013, according to a recent study by the National Council of Aging. But from 1989-2001, the proportion with credit card debt hovered closer to a quarter.

Median card balances also have climbed. In the study's five earliest reporting periods – from 1989-2001 – the median card balance (among seniors with a balance) was well below $2,000. In the four periods since 2004, the median was substantially above $2,000, with a peak nearing $3,000 in 2007.

The National Council on Aging's Older Adults and Debt: Trends, Tradeoffs, and Tools to Help report is based on both a May 2015 survey of 72 aging network professionals representing a cross-section of state and community organizations that serve older adults and data from several national surveys of consumer finances and debt. The report was released Feb. 9, 2016.

Infographic: The face of senior card debt

See related: Infographic: Average card balances by age 2003-2015 and more infographics

'To Her Credit'
Q&A with Sally Herigstad

How to allocate lump sum
across multiple card debts

To Her Credit columnist Sally Herigstad

You can pay high-interest debt first or retire an entire balance. See Expert Q&A

Ask a question. reviews
of balance transfer cards

Balance transfer card reviews

Our reviews of
balance transfer credit cards rated the best cards, based on the length of their interest-free period and the fees for transferring a balance. We also weighed balance transfer card penalty rates and rewards programs.

Credit card glossary terms

The billing cycle is a specific, recurring time period between billing statements. See: “How your card's billing cycle affects your credit scores

Credit card statistics

Business credit cards
by the numbers

Though business cards are relatively few in number, there is a lot of charging on done on these cards. Case in point: There were 13.9 million small-business credit cards as of 2015, yet they account for $430 billion in spending.

Credit card calculators

How long to pay debt
with minimum payments?

Use our calculator to check how long it will take to pay off your debt, and how much interest you will pay over the live of your debt if you only make minimum monthly payments.

'Taking Charge' blog

Susan Johnston 4 new apps make it easier
to get price-drop refunds

Susan Johnston Taylor | 7/29/2016

A new class of apps use bots to automatically scan for price drops. Then they'll help get refunds for you in exchange for a cut of that amount.
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When you were hit with a late fee on your credit card most recently, what was the reason?


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See related: 5 ways to avoid (or deal with) late fees, Infographic: Card delinquencies hold near record lows and Confusion high over credit card fees

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Credit card tip of the day

There is no warning required for a hard inquiry. The impact of a hard inquiry on your credit score can range from slightly harmful to positive.

Updated: 07-31-2016