As we move closer and closer to the final implementation of the Bankruptcy Reform Act, many US citizens are making a mad dash to their local attorney’s office. Rightfully so, as the Bankruptcy Reform Act will institute many changes that will ultimately make the declaration of bankruptcy a much more difficult task. But as you ponder the notion of a flood of bankruptcy filings, also realize that many of the major credit card issuers in the country are making changes to their guidelines that will cause monthly payments to go up and in many cases, almost double.
For years minimum payments have been set at roughly 2% – 2.5% of a persons total debt. So if you owed $10,000 you were paying roughly $200 per month. Now with guidelines changing a person could be required to pay 4% or more each month towards their credit card debt. Using the same example that would mean that the same $10,000 debt would require a $400 payment each month.
Although it is not an astronomical change, for those people who are living minimum payment to minimum payment this could be a crippling blow to their wallets. Another thing to consider is that most people are unaware of this upcoming change, meaning that they may or may not be able to make that payment on time. As we all know, if you don’t pay on time, you will pay the fine.
Realize as well, that being charged a late fee is almost always coupled with an interest rate hike. This 1-2 punch from credit card issuers has an eerie timing about it. The government is going to make it more difficult for people to declare bankruptcy, and the banks are making changes that might cause more people need bankruptcy. It isn’t difficult to see how these two changes together can, and most likely will, have a dramatic impact on the rest of the US and our commerce. No matter what the outcome proves to be, it is quite apparent that timing is everything.