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Banks paying you to pay off credit card debt?

Posted by Cheryl Costa  September 22, 2008 08:49 AM

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These days, if you miss even one payment on your credit card, you could be receiving a call from your bank instead of a letter. That is because more and more people are now defaulting on their credit card debt. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal stated that 4.5 percent of bank credit card accounts are now delinquent.

Banks are so anxious to see balances paid down that some are offering payment incentives. Citibank has been contacting some of its credit card holders and offering to match a percentage of the payments made over the minimum amount due if the cardholder agrees to pay off a percentage of their balances quickly. There is a cap on the match ($550) and the cardholder usually has to agree to at least temporarily stop using their card.

Another bank has realized that cardholders are using caller ID and answering machines to avoid collection calls so they are mailing phone and gift cards to late payers to get them to call back. The trick is that the gift cards are not activated until the account holder contacts the lender.

The point is that if you are struggling with credit card debt, you should contact the bank as soon as you can. Companies are definitely trying harder to work deals that will work for you. Some will offer temporarily lower payments until you catch up on your debt. At the end of the day, the credit card companies want the debt paid off just as quickly as you do.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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ABOUT MANAGING YOUR MONEY
Local finance professionals share insights and advice on issues such as budgeting, managing debt, and retirement planning.

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D. Abraham Ringer is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner and a Financial Adviser with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Boston. He is registered in MA, NH, NY and several other states to which his articles are directed. For more information please visit www.morganstanleyfa.com/ringer
Financial Planning Association™ of Massachusetts has 900 members who specialize in the financial planning process. Many of its members engage in philanthropic pro bono work in their communities, recommend legislation, elevate public awareness, promote financial literacy, and advocate for sound economic and tax policies.
Odysseas Papadimitriou is the founder of CardHub.com, a credit card and gift card marketplace, and WalletHub.com, a personal finance site. He has more than 13 years of experience in the personal finance industry, and previously served as senior director at Capital One.

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