Credit cards can be an easy way to make purchases when one is short on cash. These economic times have led families to put more on credit cards and take on more credit card debt. But excessive use of credit cards can lead to unmanageable levels of credit card debt. And, unlike cash, a balance on a credit card can lead to interest charges.

A new report from Equifax found that Sacramento residents owe about $4.3 billion dollars to credit card companies. That equates to over $4,500 worth of credit card debt per household. These figures are nevertheless a slight improvement over last year. The amount of credit card debt is approximately 1.4 percent lower than last year. The new report also shows that the households of Sacramento have less credit card debt than those in other cities in California.

Bankruptcy is an option available to individuals facing mounting credit card debt. There are two types of individual bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide an individual with the opportunity to discharge some of the debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows the individual to create a reorganization plan for the debt. The type of debt that can be discharged includes credit card debt, medical bills and secured loans. Student loans and child support cannot be discharged.

Before a debt can be discharged, creditors will have an opportunity to argue for repayment over discharge. Yet bankruptcy is still an option worth considering because it can help those in substantial debt make a fresh start.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Sacramento households average nearly $5,000 in credit card debt," Phillip Reese, Sept. 25, 2012