Americans are becoming increasingly dependent on the plastic.

· In January, revolving credit, which is largely credit card debt, was up 6.4 percent over the previous year.

· Credit card debt is running at the 14.5 percent of after-tax income. This debt is the highest level on record.

· Interest rates on credit cards average more than 13 percent. That is the kind of interest rate that would make loan sharks blush.

Here is some free financial advice. It is never a good idea to carry credit card debt. If you can't pay off your bill in one month, then don't use your card.