Consumers throughout Virginia and the rest of the U.S. paid credit card companies more than $113 billion in fees and interest in 2018, according to the New York Federal Reserve's latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit. That figure represents a 12% year-over-year increase, and it's $37 billion more than Americans paid in 2013. Credit card interest charges and fees are expected to keep climbing; analysts predict that they will surpass $122 billion by the end of 2019.
The amount of student loan debt outstanding in Virginia and across the country is expected to grow to $2 trillion by the year 2022. This would be far more than the amount of auto loan or credit card debt, and experts believe a large percentage of the student debt will ultimately not be repaid. Student loan borrowers, though, have largely not had the option to discharge their debts in bankruptcy. A new bill might soon make it easier for them to do that.
One paradox some people in Virginia may face if they are considering bankruptcy is that while filing is a thing they need to do because they lack money, filing for bankruptcy costs money. There is usually a surge in bankruptcies in March and April as people get their tax refunds and use that to pay for bankruptcy.
Virginia collection agencies will likely try whatever it takes to get money from a debtor. However, there are limits as to what they can do to get what they are owed. For instance, they are not allowed to contact a person before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. A debt collector is also barred from contacting a person while at work if the collector has been asked not to do so.
People in Virginia considering declaring bankruptcy may wonder whether they qualify for Chapter 13. They tend to ask about the income limits for filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy as well as the required size of debt itself. What many people are surprised to learn is that there is no income limit for filing a Chapter 13, but the size of debt one can hold is limited: To qualify, one's unsecured debt cannot exceed $394,725 whereas their secured debt must stay below $1,184,200.
It isn't uncommon for Virginia residents and others who have credit card debt to carry it for more than a year. According to a poll by CreditCards.com, 56 percent of respondents carried their balances for more than 12 months. Of respondents, 14 percent had some form of credit card debt for five years. Those with larger incomes were more likely to carry credit card debt.
Vehicle owners in Virginia and throughout the country are encouraged to talk to their lenders if they are struggling to keep up with their car payments. Generally speaking, lenders would rather work out a new payment plan as opposed to spending time and money repossessing a vehicle. In some cases, a lender will change the date that the payment is due. It is also possible that a financing company will defer payments to some point in the future.
According to CreditDonkey.com, the average American has a credit card balance of $5,331. Furthermore, 55 percent of those with credit card bills in Virginia and throughout the country don't pay off their balances in full each month. Individuals between the ages of 45 and 54 tend to have the most credit card debt as they are likelier to be able to afford higher balances. Younger Americans and those headed toward retirement tend to have lower amounts of credit card debt.
Every year, several people in Virginia decide to file for bankruptcy, be it Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, and during the process, they try to prepare for every eventuality so as not to be surprised later down the road. Accordingly, they work with their lawyers, trying to make the filing process as smooth as possible, and one of the questions many of them wonder about is whether filing for bankruptcy will cause the IRS to audit them.
Virginia residents who are looking to file for bankruptcy will generally consider Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 protection. Chapter 7 cases are referred to as liquidation bankruptcies as they involve selling nonexempt property to raise capital to pay off debts. Any balances that remain after assets are liquidated are usually discharged. The entire process takes as little as four months to complete, but not all debtors will qualify for Chapter 7 protection.