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Credit card users rack up over $1 trillion in debt

  • Outstanding credit card debt topped $1 trillion in the first quarter of 2017.
  • Total household debt hit $12.73 trillion, a record high.

With consumers feeling better about the economy, the amount of money borrowed has reached its highest level since the Great Recession.

Total consumer borrowing rose by $18.4 billion in May, the strongest gain since November's $25.1 billion increase, according to a recent report by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

While household income has grown over the past decade, it has failed to keep up with the increased cost of living over the same period.

To bridge the gap, more Americans rely on credit cards, one of the most expensive ways to borrow.

Consumers' revolving credit, or credit cards, rose by $7.4 billion in May to $1.02 trillion, the highest level since July 2008, according to a separate report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Altogether, total household debt, including mortgages, student loan balances, credit cards and car loans, reached $12.73 trillion in the first quarter of this year — a record high, topping the previous peak also hit in 2008.