Americans with credit card debt are caught in the crossfire of the Federal Reserve’s battle to bring down inflation.
The average annual percentage rate (APR) for credit cards hit 22.39 percent during the second quarter of 2023, up 3.5 percentage points from the same period last year, according to a new study by WalletHub.
“The current average credit card APR is the highest it’s ever been in the past two decades due to the recent Fed rate hikes,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told The Hill.
Gonzalez anticipates credit card APR will increase further as a result of the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates again last week.
The Fed has hiked interest rates 11 times since March 2022, raising its baseline interest rate last week to a 22-year high. Fed rate hikes are meant to slow the economy and reduce inflation by making it more expensive to borrow and owe money.
While rates on some loans — such as mortgages — are only influenced by Fed hikes, credit card companies usually move rates in lockstep with the Fed.
Those higher rates are now deepening the debts many Americans are facing.
Caitlin Hogan, a 32-year-old case manager in central Kansas, told The Hill she had to put some unexpected expenses on one of her credit cards and is focused on paying off another one.
“I do not want to slip down the very slippery slope!” Hogan wrote.
Hogan’s plan is to put a little extra money towards that balance, but said “it’s just gonna get paid when it gets paid.”
Credit card debt on the rise
Riley Bookout, a graduate student at Texas A&M University, told The Hill he’s more cautious about what he puts on his credit card.
“If I were to miss a payment — and I don’t make a ton of money — it could hurt,” Bookout said.
“I think it’s concerning that we’re having to raise the interest rate at all anymore,” he added. “From the outside, it feels like the economy’s doing rather well.”
Middle and low-income families were hardest hit by high inflation that made it difficult to afford basic needs including food, gas and housing, Gonzalez said. While inflation is far lower now than it was last year, the nation’s total credit card debt lays bare “the almost devastating effects of these increases.”
‘A long way to go‘ before rates come down
Inflation has plummeted from its peak at 9 percent year-over-year in June 2022 to 3 percent in June 2023, but Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned last week inflation has a “long way to go” before it falls to the Fed’s 2 percent inflation target.
Powell said the Fed may decide to raise interest rates again in September if inflation does not appear to be in check, and will likely keep rates high until it is quashed for good.
“Inflation has proved repeatedly has proved stronger than we and other forecasters have expected and at some point that may change. We have to be ready to follow the data,” he said.
Gonzalez expects more hikes before the end of the year as the Fed works to cool the economy, and she anticipates credit card debt and the unemployment rate will continue to climb over the next few months.
“There’s still uncertainty about whether we’ll face a recession in the second half of the year or not, but it’s important for consumers to start saving up regardless,” Gonzalez said.
How to manage credit card debt
While it can be difficult to save when the interest keeps piling up, Candace Lee, vice president and client advisor at Glassman Wealth Services, said there are several options for tackling higher credit card debt.
“Anytime there’s excess cash that you have in your bank account, just focus on paying down the one that has the highest interest rate,” Lee said. “You’re basically just placing money in interest rate fees every time you kind of just leave that one to build.”
Cardholders may also focus on paying off the credit card with the highest balance, or a smaller balance that’s easy to pay off “so you kind of feel like you’re making progress.”
Lee does not usually recommend her clients to refinance their credit card debt. She said there may be fine print that’s missed that could make it even harder to pay down their debt.
If possible, it’s important to make the minimum payments on credit card — and to make them on time — to avoid hits to your credit score and late fees.
Lee says in the immediate term, she tries to be as encouraging as she can when working with clients who are struggling with credit card debt.
“Some people can’t help having credit card debt just based on their income,” she said.
Lee added that getting into the habit of evaluating your accounts, expenses and income as you have extra cash to pay off credit card debt “is just a smart strategy.”
Tackling late fees
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed a new rule in February to cap credit card late fees it estimates cost Americans around $12 billion each year.
If the proposed rule is finalized, late fees would drop from as much as $41 per violation to $8, among other provisions.
The CFPB estimates this rule would reduce late fees by as much as $9 billion annually, but banks and credit unions are lining up against the proposal.
In a May letter to the CFPB, the American Bankers Association, the Consumer Bankers Association and the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions warned credit cards could get more expensive and difficult to get if the rule were implemented.
The associations also argued late fees are an “important incentive” to encourage on-time payments, minimize the risk of default and support good credit.
Business Americans with credit card debt are caught in the crossfire of the Federal Reserve’s battle to bring down inflation. The average annual percentage rate (APR) for credit cards hit 22.39 percent during the second quarter of 2023, up 3.5 percentage points from the same period last year, according to a new study by WalletHub. 5…
Roselyn Omaka Leads Sinc Healthcare’s Nationwide Expansion in Remote Patient Monitoring
Sinc Healthcare, a leader in the realm of remote patient monitoring and a sister company to UPL Care, is proud to announce Roselyn Omaka’s addition to their executive team. This significant move marks the expansion of Sinc Healthcare’s innovative Medicare-compliant services across all 50 states in the United States, underlining the company’s commitment to nationwide healthcare improvement.
With Omaka’s expertise, Sinc Healthcare is poised to extend its reach, offering cutting-edge remote patient monitoring services to healthcare providers and patients across the entire country. This expansion ensures that
no matter where patients are located, they have access to top-tier healthcare monitoring and support.
Omaka brings a unique blend of biochemistry knowledge and business acumen to Sinc Healthcare. Her leadership is expected to drive the company’s commitment to legal compliance, maximize reimbursements for providers, and reduce hospital readmissions, crucial in today’s healthcare landscape.
Sinc Healthcare, under Omaka’s direction, embraces the technological advancements of AI and remote patient monitoring. This approach is set to revolutionize patient care, especially for those unable to make frequent in-person visits to healthcare facilities.
The expansion of Sinc Healthcare’s services nationwide means more healthcare providers can:
- Offer enhanced patient care through remote monitoring.
- Maintain operational efficiency and compliance.
- Utilize data-driven insights for better patient outcomes.
Sinc Healthcare has been at the forefront of remote patient monitoring since 2014, with a zero lawsuit record, emphasizing its dedication to compliance and quality care. Its services are now available across all 50 states, making it a leading figure in nationwide healthcare innovation.
For additional information on Roselyn Omaka’s role and Sinc Healthcare’s expanded services, fill out this form.
Comedy Filmmaking 101: How to Master Verbal Timing
In the realm of filmmaking, every element contributes to the tapestry of your story, and among these, verbal timing stands as a powerful thread that can weave unforgettable moments into your narrative. In this comprehensive guide, we delve deep into the significance of the pause in filmmaking. Specifically, we explore how mastering the art of the pause can elicit audience reactions, enhance engagement, and immerse viewers in your storytelling.
Setting the Stage for Verbal Timing Before we dive into the nuances of the pause, it’s essential to lay a solid foundation by considering how it fits into the broader context of your film. Here’s how to prepare:
- Develop Vibrant Characters: Craft characters with distinct personalities, quirks, and dynamics to create meaningful interactions.
- Craft a Compelling Script: Your script should encompass moments of humor, drama, tension, and surprise, setting the stage for varied emotional experiences.
- Establish Pacing Rhythms: Align your pacing with the genre and overall tone of your film, ensuring a seamless flow that captivates your audience.
The Pause as a Narrative Device A well-executed pause serves as a narrative device that can be employed in various scenarios to heighten your storytelling:
- Comic Timing: In humorous scenes, a well-placed pause following a setup line amplifies the impact of the ensuing laughter.
- Dramatic Effect: During emotionally charged moments, pauses heighten tension and enable the audience to absorb the gravity of the situation.
- Suspense Building: In suspenseful or thriller genres, strategic pauses keep viewers on the edge of their seats, building anticipation.
The Emotional Pause To evoke specific emotional responses from your audience, consider these tips:
- Timing Variations: Experiment with pause lengths. A longer pause encourages deeper contemplation, while a shorter one maintains pacing.
- Character Reaction Shots: Capture character reactions after a significant line, showcasing the impact of the dialogue on the story’s emotional landscape.
- Dialogue Placement: Position critical lines just before a pause, allowing the audience to digest and react to pivotal information.
Timing for Humor In the world of comedy, timing reigns supreme. Maximize comedic impact with these insights:
- The Punchline Pause: Pause after delivering a setup to let the audience anticipate and relish the punchline.
- Timing Delivery: Practice diverse comedic delivery styles, rhythms, and pauses to identify what suits your script and characters best.
- Physical Comedy Integration: Don’t overlook the synergy between verbal timing and physical comedy, as they can enhance each other’s humorous effect.
The Unexpected Pause Surprise your audience with an unexpected pause to create memorable cinematic moments:
- Subverting Expectations: Deviate from anticipated pacing to catch viewers off guard, generating intrigue and excitement.
- Plot Twists: Before revealing a plot twist or shocking revelation, pause to amplify its impact, leaving a lasting impression.
The Power of Editing Verbal timing isn’t solely reliant on actors’ delivery during filming; the editing process plays a pivotal role:
- Adjusting Pace: Fine-tune dialogue timing in the editing room by trimming or extending pauses to achieve the desired effect.
- Sound Design: Collaborate with your sound team to enhance pauses with ambient sounds, music, or silence, further immersing the audience.
- Testing and Feedback: Seek feedback from test audiences to gauge the effectiveness of your verbal timing choices. Analyze moments where the pause successfully elicited the desired reaction and where refinements may be necessary.
Mastering verbal timing in filmmaking demands practice, creativity, and a profound understanding of storytelling. By weaving the power of the pause into your narrative, you can engage your audience emotionally, craft unforgettable comedic moments, and intensify the impact of dramatic sequences. Remember, the pause isn’t just about silence—it’s a dynamic tool that enriches your storytelling and invites the audience deeper into your cinematic world. Embrace this art, and witness your filmmaking skills flourish, leaving audiences eagerly awaiting your next project.
Check out “10 Reasons Why Promoting Your Films Through Video Marketing Is Invaluable for Attracting Investors.”
For tickets to the February 10th, 2024 Houston Comedy Film Festival and film submissions, visit our website.
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