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Americans charging less and avoiding credit cards with fees

Consumers in Wisconsin and elsewhere appear to be taking better control of their debt thanks to their own actions and through mandatory relief prescribed by federal agencies. Analysis of consumer spending shows that Americans continue to charge fewer purchases, indicating an effort to eliminate credit card debt. Consumers remain cautious, due in part to slow but steady job growth and wage increases. In addition, the presence of little or no fees along with judgments against some companies for charging unfair fees bodes well for those looking to get out of financial trouble.

Some banks have been sanctioned for unscrupulous credit card practices. Plans were recently announced by two federal agencies to fine JP Morgan Chase a total of approximately $80 million for its credit card debt collection practices and for fraudulent sales of identity-theft products to unsuspecting consumers.

Although some companies are known for loading up their customers with excessive fees, about 95 percent of credit card issuers charge no fee at all for using their cards. Savvy consumers can even find credit cards that do not impose charges or fees for currency conversions on overseas purchases or for other small print conditions.

Consumers in Wisconsin who are burdened with excessive credit card debt may wish to consult with an attorney that has experience in bankruptcy matters. Such an attorney may be able to help determine whether filing for bankruptcy is an appropriate choice in light of a client's particular financial situation, and may then be able to provide advice and assistance with respect to the various requirements and procedures imposed by federal bankruptcy laws.

Source: Forbes, "This Week In Credit Card News: Declining Credit Card Debt, Avoiding the Outrageous Fees", Bill Hardekopf, September 20, 2013

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