The Obama Administration’s Credit CARD Act, meant to tighten the reins on credit card industry treatment of card customers—and thereby assist most average Americans— has slowly (but imperceivably?) begun changing our credit card rates, rewards, the appearance of our statements, and even the number of offers we receive.
But despite these significant changes in credit card law to this point, many Americans are still struggling to pay their bills on time, every time. Some can’t pay because they’ve taken a pay cut; in other cases, they’ve been laid off completely; in most they’ve simply lived beyond their means so long that the credit card interest is working far from in their best interest. If this sounds like you, for whatever the reason, you may be wondering what you can do if you can’t pay your bill on time.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that you can attempt to work with your credit card company to get a stay on the payment until you can pay—especially if you can pay—only a little late. If at first you don’t succeed, ask for a supervisor. In fact, ask to be put through to the department that is responsible for negotiating debt workout arrangements. Often what one can’t or won’t do, another can (or is even designated to do).
If that doesn’t work, there’s now another light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, as of August 22, you now have even more solutions available to you if you find yourself late on your credit card payment. According to the Federal Reserve, if before August 22, you couldn't pay your credit card bill you might have a late payment fee of $30. As a result, you would pay that $30, whether your minimum payment was $20 or $200. But as financial expert Michele Singletary reports, “Under the newly implemented rules for the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act, your credit card company cannot charge you a fee of more than $25 unless one of your last six payments was late -- in which case your fee may be up to $35—or the credit issuer can show that the costs it incurs as a result of late payments justify a higher fee.”
What’s even better is that your credit card company can't charge you a late payment fee that is more than your minimum payment. As Singletary put it, “For example, if your minimum payment is $20, your late payment fee can't be more than $20. Similarly, if you go over your credit limit by $5, you can't be charged an over-the-limit fee of more than $5.”
The end of outrageous fees is a bright spot for many facing the challenges of credit card debt during these tough economic times. Because, as everyone now knows at this point, there’s normally a heavy price to pay for playing with plastic. If you too have been effected by the economy and are wondering how to reduce your credit card debt and get back on track, knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can also help you to conquer your creditors and face your financial fears, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— for a viable and secure future beyond our own “Great Recession.” The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.
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