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OTHER ITA SITES:
Are You Running On The Credit Treadmill?
A staggering number of credit card companies are drastically increasing the size of their pockets by padding their credit cards with all sorts of traps and tricks. This has been a premeditated and a systematic assault on the consumer. Once you have taken the bait and mistaken those inviting traps, such as zero interest, you then are caught in their web. The credit card companies are like a spider that waits patiently for its prey. The struggle begins when you try to become free of the stranglehold of the financial death trap. Most people become confused when looking for the exit. After that, it becomes next to impossible to escape.
Once you’re in their web, then you are financially drained with high interest charges, over-limit fees, late fees, disappearing grace periods, double cycle billing, and every other possible way in which to keep running your bill up. So you end up continuously paying and paying and paying. Not to mention the ongoing harassment over the phone, which makes you quiver and dive for cover every time the phone rings. This is known as the “credit treadmill”.
The average adult American carries around $20,000 in unsecured credit card debt. This is structured by paying the minimum monthly payments that take years to pay off. Pay very close attention to the numbers below, they will reveal to you just how long you’ll end up running on the treadmill. Having charged up now $20,000 in credit card debt if you were to make the standard monthly minimum payments at an 8% interest rate it would take you 259 months to pay off your debt. This is equivalent to 21.5 years, and you would have paid back $7,194 in interest.
Wow! That’s a very long time, but look what happens if you were to stumble once while on the credit treadmill, the picture looks over 10 times worse. Let’s say you make just one little slip up and miss a payment or two, the credit card company suddenly jacks your interest up to a default rate in the high 20 to 30% range! Using 28% as an example, the same structured monthly minimum payments for $20,000 of debt you were carrying now will take 2,463 months, which is 205 years, and you will pay back $275,117 dollars in interest. The second scenario is right where the banks want you.
The major credit card companies are slowly bleeding Americans’ wallets to death over the course of their lives. Last year the credit card industry made a mind boggling $17.1 billion in controversial penalty fees alone. This is a ten fold rise in these types of fees over the past decade. In 1980, Americans rang up credit card debt to a staggering $69 billion a year. Now in the past year 2006, American credit card debt is at $1.8 trillion a year, and there is no sign of slowing down.
Every year millions of Americans end up naively jumping on the credit treadmill. In the beginning, you feel good to have all this credit and think, “it’s no problem because I won’t let this get out of hand.” How could you know what was going to happen though? Even if you read the very tiny fine print on the credit agreement, it is so deceptively written that a Harvard graduate would even have a hard time deciphering its meaning.
If you are on the treadmill and are starting to feel a bit uneasy, or to the point of fear, the best thing would be to speak with a reputable credit counselor or debt manager. But if your concern has turned into fear of loss, such as your personal assets, then it is best to speak with an attorney whom is experienced in negotiating with these credit card companies.
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