Credit Card Companies Increase Minimum Payment

By: Toni Harrison
By: Toni Harrison

"It makes for a difficult time for the consumer," said Ray Taddeo, credit counselor, Consumer Credit Counseling Services.

Credit card holders who make only minimum payments each month are in for a shock. Over the next three months, a federal mandate will require card companies to raise, in some cases double, the amount card holders must pay each month.

Taddeo says for some credit card holders, the change will be good because it will mean they'll pay less interest. But for the 11 million card users who pay the minimum balance, the change will have a serious impact on their personal finances.

"It's also going to be necessary for the consumers to rethink the way that they handle their credit knowing that a larger monthly payment amount is going to be required," said Taddeo.

There are options for people who can't make their payments. Card holders can see a credit counselor and work out a payment plan or get help from the bank.

"Pretty much the only option they have is the debit consolidation loan where they take all their credit card debt and possibly some other debt they have and put it into one loan where it's manageable," said Glenn Boone, Vice President Consumer Lending, First National Bank.

Debt consolidation loans and credit counseling can lower monthly payments and assist in getting out of debt. However, consumers can still get into trouble if they don't get rid of their credit cards.

The consumer can still maintain those credit cards with those companies and could possible charge back up on them and that's where they get into trouble," said Boone.

Most credit card companies have already notified customers of the change. While long-term benefits of the change are clear, many worry how consumers will react in the short term


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