Credit Card Firms Cut Deals With Delinquents

Newly relaxed policies allow firms to settle for portion of debt
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 16, 2009 8:25 AM CDT
Credit cards are displayed at a bank ATM in San Jose, Calif., Friday, May 22, 2009.    (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – With countless customers running behind on payments, credit card companies are taking it easy on delinquents, letting them off the hook in exchange for partial repayments, the New York Times reports. The firms began easing up on their previous policies last fall, experts say; now they’re letting frontline workers settle with delinquents without checking with supervisors or even waiting for a customer to ask for relief.

“Now it’s the card company calling you and saying, ‘Let’s talk turkey,’” says an industry expert. After debt is 6 months overdue, credit card firms are required to cut its value on their books to zero; by then, the customer is unlikely to pay at all. “The creditors would rather have a piece of something now instead of absolutely nothing down the road,” says a consumer advocate.