NEW YORK (NEWSnet/AP) — Overdue credit card debt is at the highest level in more than a decade.

The share of debt considered severely delinquent, more than 90 days overdue, rose to 10.7% during first quarter 2024, according to Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Bruce McClary, senior vice president at National Foundation for Credit Counseling, says people who face delinquency should connect with a nonprofit credit counselor.

Nonprofits can help to create a debt-management plan that has a lower interest rate, no late fee and a single payment each month, McClary said. Those plans may involve a maintenance fee, but it usually is offset by overall savings on debt.

McClary and Martin Lynch, president of Financial Counseling Association of America, urge borrowers to negotiate directly with a credit card company regarding interest rates and long-term payment arrangements. It’s in a company’s best interest if you pay before a debt goes to collections.

“The best thing to do is to reach out, give an honest assessment of your ability to pay over time, and ask what options are available to you both ‘on and off-the-menu,’” McClary said. That kind of phrasing can give creditors an opening to offer more flexibility, he said.

McClary and other experts say most credit card companies have hardship programs available.

The average annual interest rate on a new credit card is 24.71%, according to LendingTree, the highest since the company began tracking in 2019.

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