Cards blamed as bankruptcies rise

The latest data from the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia (ITSA) shows that the number of personal bankruptcies increased by 20 per cent in the three months to December, when compared with the previous December quarter. ITSA reported that most were linked to excessive credit card debt, loss of employment or the breakdown of a relationship. Credit card debt has more than doubled over the past five years to $37.3 billion in October compared with 17 billion in 2001. More than 70 per cent of bankrupts owed less than $50,000 to unsecured creditors.