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Consumer debt on track to top $4 trillion by 2019

Jeanie Ahn
Senior Producer/Reporter

Here’s an unsettling number as you gear up for holiday shopping: consumer debt is on pace to hit $4 trillion by the end of 2018. In fact, in just the past five years, consumer debt has gone up by $1 trillion.

Taking a closer look at the breakdown for borrowers: $1.04 trillion is revolving or credit card debt, which has jumped 22% since 2013, and $2.9 trillion in non-revolving debt, which includes student and auto loans, jumping 30% in the past five years. (Mortgage debt is not included in this number.)

Related: 5 ways to get your credit score out of the dumps

Based on the rate of holiday spending reported in these past few weeks alone, LendingTree analysts expect credit card balances to grow by at least 5% for the remainder of 2018.

Already this year, Americans have shelled out over $100 billion in credit card interest and fees. Adding fuel to the fire are all-time high interest rates with APR’s averaging 16% to 17%. And borrowing will only get more expensive as there will likely be three to four more interest rate hikes by the end of 2019

Consumers struggling with their debt payments can take advantage of cost-effective debt solution experts from free credit counseling services at non-profits like Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) for credit card debt, as well as Student Debt Crisis for help with repayment options when handling their student loans.

Jeanie Ahn is a senior reporter and producer at Yahoo Finance, covering personal finance and women in business. Follow her on Twitter.

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