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Many carry credit card balances for long periods of time

It isn't uncommon for Virginia residents and others who have credit card debt to carry it for more than a year. According to a poll by CreditCards.com, 56 percent of respondents carried their balances for more than 12 months. Of respondents, 14 percent had some form of credit card debt for five years. Those with larger incomes were more likely to carry credit card debt.

The poll found that only 7 percent of those who make less than $30,000 carried a credit card balance. However, 17 percent of those with an income of $80,000 or more had done so. This is likely because they can carry a balance easier than those who don't have the same type of financial resources. People who have credit card balances are encouraged to focus on paying down their debt as opposed to using those cards to make additional purchases.

Ideally, individuals won't charge more than they can afford to repay in a month. There are several downsides to keeping a credit card balance for months or years at a time. For instance, debtors may pay more in interest, have lower credit scores or be unable to handle a financial emergency. Transferring balances to cards with a zero percent interest rate may make it easier to pay down some or all of them.

Those who are looking for a way to get rid of their debt may want to consider filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Doing so may make it possible to protect property by putting an end to creditor collection activities. In most cases, a debtor is granted an automatic stay from foreclosure or a repossession when he or she files. An attorney may further explain the other potential benefits of filing for bankruptcy.

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