consumer debt

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Student Loan Debt to Hit $1T This Year

...that's more than Americans owe on their credit cards

(Newser) - America’s total outstanding student loan debt will cross the $1 trillion threshold for the first time this year, putting those loans ahead of credit cards as the country’s biggest source of debt, USA Today reports, citing figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Student lending has... More »

It's the Busted Consumer Bubble, Stupid

With no consumer spending, economy keeps dragging

(Newser) - There are plenty of theories and explanations for the economic crisis that has afflicted the United States for years now, but they all miss the element of the continuing malaise—it's really about the bursting of the decades-long consumer spending bubble, writes David Leonhardt in the New York Times... More »

'Recovery' Looking Like 10-Year Recession

Uncertainty is the 'new normal' in America

(Newser) - For many Americans, "recovery" feels a lot like recession—and it may take a decade for that to change, finds the New York Times . At the current rate of job creation, for instance, it would take nine years to recapture jobs lost thus far. Home prices, meanwhile, are down... More »

Ignore the Stats: Credit Card Debt Still a Big Problem

Michelle Singletary: Numbers look good because of bank write-offs

(Newser) - A recent spate of reports suggests that consumers are finally getting smart about plastic by paying down their credit card debt. Hold the celebration, writes Michelle Singletary. A closer look shows that one of the big reasons overall debt is shrinking is not because consumers are paying it back but... More »

Credit Card Debt Drops to 8-Year Low

Falls to an average of $4,951

(Newser) - The average American’s credit card debt hit an 8-year low in the second quarter of the year—even as rates hit a 9-year high . The average combined credit card debt fell to $4,951, down 13% from $5,719 over the same stretch last year, according to figures from... More »

1 in 4 Americans a Credit Risk

Credit scores sink to new lows

(Newser) - Thanks to the Great Recession, the credit scores of millions more Americans have sunk to new lows. New figures show that an astounding 1 in 4 households are now in the lowest credit category, boosting the number of those considered poor lending risks to 43 million. Even more consumers are... More »

BofA Cardholder Rips 'Thieving Bastards'

Foe of 'usury and plunder' won't pay 'til CEO watches video

(Newser) - A California woman who says she kept paying her credit card bill even after she lost her job has had enough: She's pledging not to pay down her Bank of America account until the creditor lowers her interest rate, the Huffington Post reports.. It’s “the proverbial first... More »

Credit Cards Cut Deadbeats More Slack

With unemployment rising, companies modify, reduce debt

(Newser) - With unemployment nearing 10%, credit card companies are doing something once unheard of: forgiving debt, or modifying it in the customer’s favor, the Washington Post reports. Companies are loathe to discuss the practice, lest it inspire more delinquencies, but according to one industry report, roughly 3 million people got... More »

Banks Hit Poorest With $38B in Overdraft Fees

(Newser) - American banks will pull in $38.5 billion in overdraft fees this year, a record sum that's largely coming from pockets of the poorest and most indebted consumers. According to the Financial Times, banks hiked fees on overdrafts and credit cards as the financial crisis took hold; this year's take... More »

Arbitration Firms Quit Consumer Debt Biz

Credit card, cell phone companies scramble to collect by themselves

(Newser) - Credit card and cell phone companies are scrambling as two major arbitration firms back out of the business of settling consumer disputes, the Wall Street Journal reports. The National Arbitration Forum—accused in a Minnesota lawsuit of misleading consumers into thinking it was impartial—will stop taking cases this week,... More »

Cities Saddled With the Most Credit Card Debt

Florida, California have credit problem, Forbes shows

(Newser) - The recession has many Americans tightening their belts, but some just can’t seem to put away the plastic. Forbes checked in with Equifax and compiled a list of the country's most credit card-happy cities. Conclusion? Florida might have a problem.
  1. Miami: Average household credit card debt: $9,797, or
... More »

Obama Wants Credit Card Relief Bill by Memorial Day

(Newser) - Putting himself on the side of fuming consumers, President Obama is pushing for Congress to send him legislation by Memorial Day that would immediately reign in the credit card industry, he said in his radio address this morning. The House has passed a bill banning several predatory practices, but it... More »

House Approves Credit Card Reform

(Newser) - The House today approved legislation to protect credit card holders from hidden fees and sudden rate hikes, Reuters reports. Legislators voted overwhelmingly for the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights, a measure banks complain will tighten the amount of credit available and make holding a card more expensive. The Senate is... More »

White House Targets Credit Card Chicanery

Issuers coming under pressure to halt unfair, misleading practices

(Newser) - The Obama administration is throwing its weight behind congressional efforts to crack down on credit card companies, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lawmakers are pushing legislation to ban practices like arbitrarily raising interest rates on existing balances and the president is expected to take a hard line on the issue... More »

Debt Settlers Promise Relief, Provide Little

Cash-strapped consumers claim companies charge fees without reducing debt

(Newser) - State attorneys general are being overwhelmed with complaints about “debt settlement” companies that promise consumers relief from mounting bills but rarely deliver, the New York Times reports. The number of such companies, which often collect fees of 15% of the total debt to negotiate with creditors, has tripled in... More »

Debt Collectors Fleece Relatives of the Dead

Getting bereaved to pay up one of the healthiest parts of industry

(Newser) - Bankruptcy and defaults are all the rage these days, but one group is being targeted to pay up: the dead. Entire debt collection agencies have cropped up that specialize in calling bereaved relatives and convincing them to pay the deceased’s debts, even though they have no legal obligation to... More »

BofA Tricks People Into Paying the Dead's Bills

Bank accused of shady practices in collecting cash from bereaved relatives

(Newser) - Bank of America has been misleading customers into believing they have to pay off the credit card bills of dead relatives, TPM reports. One customer was outraged when a bank rep tried to first trick, and then guilt-trip him into paying his dead mother's bills. A former rep for the... More »

As Economy Tanks, Will Plastic Fade?

Debit, layaways tempt as consumers watch wallets

(Newser) - Will today’s wallet-watching leave a permanent dent in America’s beloved plastic? Likely to write off $45 billion this year, with billions more at stake, credit-card lenders are tightening rules and raising fees, the New York Times reports. “People are going to have to live within their means,... More »

As Debit Cards Catch Credit, Banks Cash In

Consumers see way to limit spending; banks adjust fee tactics

(Newser) - Credit is no longer the king of cards, Business Week reports. As banks get stingy with credit and consumers look for ways to reel in their "charge it" ways, more and more are turning to debit cards—so many, in fact, that Visa projects debit spending could exceed credit... More »

Americans Tighten Belts for New Frugal Age

(Newser) - The credit crisis may force Americans to do something truly drastic: live frugally. Benjamin Franklin-style penny-pinching once defined America, but thrift has gone decidedly out of style in recent times, BusinessWeek reports. "I can't help the economy," says one recent convert to the new frugality. "I've... More »

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