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Credit card debt spreads to nearly half of US adults

A survey shows that 47% of adults are now carrying a credit card balance.

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Credit card debt continues to grow. 

James Martin/CNET
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Credit card debt has increased in the US since March when the coronavirus pandemic led to lockdowns across the country, according to a new survey released Monday by CreditCards.com. This is on top of a 2019 study showing consumer debt was at an all-time high. 

Approximately 120 million US adults, or 47%, had credit card debt as of April, an increase from 43% in March. Those hardest hit were millennials, with 34% saying they were using more credit.  

A majority of the respondents in the survey, 60%, said they will pay back the money by paying more than the minimum monthly payment. Only 7% said they would contact their credit card company and ask for some relief. Banks and financial institutions implemented programs to help those affected financially by the pandemic.

See also: Best cash-back credit cards for 2020

Experian, one of the three main credit reporting agencies, released a consumer debt study in March that found consumer debt in the US reached $14.1 trillion. Mortgages accounted for $9.6 trillion, while credit cards added up to $829 billion.

The pandemic has caused great financial hardship in the US. At least 30 million people have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March. To help those struggling financially, the US Treasury sent out 120 million stimulus checks as part of a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed in March.