Consumer Credit Card Debt Relief Is to Come
There are currently 50,000 American cardholders accounting for as much as $900 in credit card debt. Many of them owe uncollectible amounts which are subject to a write-off and bankruptcy regulations. But the recent news from the credit industry reports of a curious combination of banks and consumer advocates who seek for the government's approval of their idea to forgive people part of their debts.
Instead of making consumers go through bankruptcy which puts a stain on their credit, banks choose to make it easier to repay large debts. That will help avoid bankruptcy and collect at least some of the amounts due.
The lending industry crunch keeps credit card costs rising, which makes it harder for everyone to manage their bills. Naturally, if you lower the costs and cut off spending, catching up with payments and eliminating debt is a matter of time.
Some financial experts regard the forgiveness of up to 40% of consumer debt as a rewarding behavior and suggest lowering the credit costs instead of leaving them unpaid. They offer two main strategies to do that. One is to ask the bank for a lower interest rate or make a balance transfer application if rejected. The other is to make more than the minimum monthly payments to reduce the principle.
But those who are already in serious debt are very unlikely to make substantial payments and even more unlikely to receive better rates or apply online for another card. If the government approves the proposal, it will be of great help. Banks will also get their share. Smaller debts are easier to repay, which means that banks will have to make fewer write-offs. In August, 2008 the percentage of write-offs reached its maximum of nearly 7%, up 48% a year ago.
Unlike mortgages, credit cards are unsecured loans and losses are not refundable, so banks figure it is wiser to avoid them by offering debt relief. A growing number of experts are suspicious about the propriety and efficiency of the proposal. While it will help banks collect payments, it may draw a cardholder in to the habit of overspending and abusing their payment obligations.
So, even is the proposal is accepted and borrowers are forgiven part of their credit debt, they might be required to close the account after their last payment.
Credit card debt help is a necessary step towards easing the strain on relations between borrowers and issuers. The Federal Reserve's stricter rules defending cardholders' rights have made credit equally expensive for bad and good risk customers. Even such lending giants as American Express and Advanta Bank increase interest rates for their valuable customers.
It is great if you cope with monthly payments and keep balances low, but the credit crunch might still show up in your card statement. The bank is obliged to notify you of any changes concerning rates and limits a few weeks before the changes occur. But there is no law prohibiting the issuer from lowering your credit limit and boosting interest rates to offset the risk associated with unsecured credit.