More than $23 billion in credit card debt is 30 days or more overdue in Virginia and across the U.S., according to a report published by finance site NerdWallet. Missing credit card payments triggers late payment fees, and falling 60 days or further behind might mean paying penalty APR. On some cards the penalty APR may be as high as 29.99 percent.
According to NerdWallet’s 2018 Consumer Credit Card Report, people miss credit card payments primarily because they don’t have enough money to make them. Of the 2,019 people surveyed, 448, or 22 percent, had been delinquent on a payment at least once. Of those who been late or missed payments, 33 percent said they needed the money to cover essential expenses and 32 percent said they needed it to pay for unexpected expenses. Another 35 percent, though, said they’d missed payments because they forgot to pay them.
The report also found that 25 percent of people who miss payments miss them because they thought of a different debt as a higher priority. The Federal Reserve has published research indicating that credit card debts are more likely to go unpaid than rent payments, mortgage payments, student loan payments or vehicle payments when money is tight.
People in Virginia who are struggling to pay down debts may want to speak with a lawyer. A lawyer with experience in debt and bankruptcy law may be able to help by suggesting options for reducing or eliminating debt. A lawyer might be able to negotiate payment terms with creditors or help the client to reorganize debt into an affordable payment plan. In some cases, bankruptcy may make sense to restructure or discharge debts. A lawyer may decide to draft and file a petition for bankruptcy protection or help to develop a debt reduction strategy that fits the goals and needs of the client.