How to Get Help for Credit Card Debt
Georgians carry the seventh heaviest debt burden in the nation. With debt outpacing income, it is easy to become overwhelmed by credit card debt. It is no surprise, then, that bankruptcy filings in the south have remained steady, or even climbed slightly, as the rest of the nation benefits from a stronger economy.
Dealing with Credit Card Debt
When financial pressures and high-interest rates make credit card debt impossible to pay off, you may not know where to turn. You have options, though, and an experienced attorney can help you to evaluate those options and determine your best path forward.
If you have missed payments or submitted numerous late payments on your credit card, you have probably racked up late fees and experienced frequent calls from the credit card company. Although many people assume that bankruptcy is the only option, a debt settlement agreement with the credit card company can be another route to financial freedom. This requires working with your creditors to create a debt settlement plan, which may:
● Reduce the amount you owe
● Reduce or eliminate interest
● Eliminate late fees
● End creditor calls and harassment
Debt settlements vary depending on the agreement you reach with your creditors. In most cases, a debt settlement will lower your credit score, though missed payments will likely have already lowered your score. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you to create a debt settlement plan that has your best interests in mind.
Bankruptcy is another option for eliminating or paying off credit card debt. However, keep in mind that filing for bankruptcy has more serious consequences than a debt settlement plan. Regardless of which kind of bankruptcy you file, you will likely have to sell off some of your property to help fulfill your debt obligations. Your credit score will also take a significant hit for seven to 10 years, depending on whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
However you decide to deal with your credit card debt, you should know that there are legal protections in place for consumers with debt. Georgia’s Industrial Loan Act protects you if your loan is $3,000 or less and is scheduled to be paid in three years and 15 days or less. This act limits the amount creditors can charge in fees and interest and also prevents abusive debt collection.
The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is more widely applicable, as there is no limit on the amount owed or repayment terms. It applies to all personal debt, such as mortgages and credit cards. Although it does not prevent companies from contacting you to collect payment, it does legally protect you from harassment, including calling you at unusual times. It also dictates that debt collectors must stop contacting you directly if you are represented by an attorney.
Contact a Bankruptcy and Debt Attorney
Even if you decide that bankruptcy is not your best option, the attorneys at Cornwell Law Firm can help you to explore your options for dealing with credit card debt. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.