Despite Consumer Protection Laws, Many Still Struggle with Credit Card Debt in Atlanta
It's been three years since the Credit CARD Act was signed into law. But while the average amount of credit card debt carried by Americans has fallen since 2009, U.S. families are still relying on plastic to afford basic living expenses.
In a recent survey of low- and middle-income families by policy center Demos, 40 percent admitted to using credit cards to cover standard expenses such as groceries, utilities, insurance, or the mortgage or rent in the past year because they did not have sufficient funds in their bank accounts to cover these costs.
Conducted this spring, the survey found that participants carried $7,145 in credit card debt, down from $9,887 in a similar 2008 study.
This year's survey did show some changes as a result of the CARD (Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure) Act, which prevents many abusive practices in the credit card industry and makes it easier for consumers to understand credit card terms.
For instance, households with debts of more than $5,000 are increasingly likely to make larger payments thanks to new statements that show how long it will take a debtor to pay down their balance by making minimum payments - which may not even cover interest.
Additionally, fewer families suffered late fees and, as a result, penalty interest rate increases.
But despite some progress, the fact still exists that much of the income earned by the hardest-hit consumers is going to credit card companies.
Many times, debts grow so large that the only way to pay existing balances is by opening new credit card accounts.
Paying down debt can feel like an endless uphill battle. For many families, Atlanta bankruptcy provides the momentum to substantially lower debt burdens - and in the case of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, erase them completely. In addition, bankruptcy has the power to stop creditor harassment and actions.
When you're caught in the cycle of debt, all it takes is one or two late payments to send your finances careening out of control.
By filing for bankruptcy in Atlanta, it's often possible to eliminate debt and rebuild credit - and your life.
To find out if bankruptcy is right for your family, call the DebtStoppers Bankruptcy Law Firm at 800-440-7235 to speak with one of our Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys. Call today for your free one-on-one debt analysis.
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Credit Cards Still Survival Strategy for Americans, by By Bill Hardekopf, The Street