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Council Bluffs Bankruptcy Law Blog

Educating Iowa teens on credit card debt

Approximately 20 percent of 18-year-olds have over four credit cards. The teens also have $3,000 in credit card debt on average. There are ways Iowa parents of teens and college students can safeguard themselves from credit card debt.

Throughout the years, credit card representatives could easily sign up teens for credit cards. Now, if the individual is under the age of 21 and there's no income, such an occurrence cannot easily happen. For those who are able to get their parents to co-sign, they usually end up racking up thousands of dollars in debt on frivolous items rather than school-related expenses. A large number of college students have multiple cards on which they carry balances. One highly advisable action is for parents to educate their kids about credit.

Medical bills and how Iowa patients can handle them

Visits to the doctor or trips to the hospital are often inevitable, whether due to unexpected illnesses or anticipated surgeries. Medical bills are some of the most common forms of debt in Iowa and throughout the United States. Even with health insurance, many consumers find themselves drowning in medical debt and struggling to find some sort of financial relief.

The unfortunate truth is that insurance policies do not always pay for services in full at many medical facilities. Usually, patients are charged by reasonable and customary guidelines, such as fees within a certain range. Most of these facilities have charges that are based on their own fee schedule. An example is a patient who has COBRA health insurance from a previous employer, but has approximately $16,000 in medical debt. However, the amount of her insurance was not enough to cover her medical costs.

Personal loans may help Iowa consumers pay off high debts

Debt can take years for many individuals to pay off in its entirety. During that time, it may be hard, if not impossible, for a consumer to keep up with the minimum monthly payments. There are ways Iowa consumers can pay off their debts by taking out personal loans and obtaining a higher salary. Others may benefit from seeking the protection that a bankruptcy filing might offer.

One woman was overwhelmed with an enormous amount of debt. She had a large amount of student loans and accumulated outstanding balances in credit card debt. By her late 20s, she owed over $50,000 in student loans and had $25,000 in credit card debt. At the age of 29, she decided to write a contract to herself that she would land a good job and pay off her debt. Eventually, she did land a government job paying over $50,000 per year.

Iowa consumers may wish to negotiate medical bills

Medical debt can have an effect on an individual's finances and credit score. Most medical bills are too high for Iowa consumers. Since high medical bills are one of the primary reasons for bankruptcy filings, it may be vital for consumers to negotiate.

Believe it or not, medical facilities and insurance companies can make a multitude of billing errors. In fact, according to the Medical Billing Advocates of America, approximately 80 percent of medical bills have at least one error. Consumers can protect themselves by reviewing the medical bills to check for duplicate charges and other mistakes. Consumers can also protect themselves by requesting an itemization of charges on their bill. This shows a consumer what they are being charged for, including the type of visit, date of visit and the charge total.

Just 1 score may not be accurate for Iowa credit card debt

Many people use credit cards as a way to get by or pay their bills. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has stepped in and is requesting credit card companies to provide consumers with their credit scores monthly. Could this provide a more accurate view of an Iowa consumer's credit card debt?

Currently, there are a few credit card companies that offer consumers their credit scores on a regular basis. Companies such as Discover offer these scores, but there have been some issues that have come to light since the score is only provided through TransUnion. As there are three credit bureaus, providing only one score could give a consumer the wrong impression as to where they stand. A score collected from TransUnion may be different from a score calculated from another bureaus.

Should Iowa consumers go into credit card debt to pay taxes?

It is the middle of tax season, and many may be aware that they owe taxes. Some Iowa residents may not have the cash on hand to give to the IRS, and may resort to using a credit card to pay taxes. Although this may seem tempting, this could lead to even more credit card debt. There are pros and cons to using a credit card to pay taxes.

One of the pros with using a credit card to pay taxes is the relief of knowing a debt to the IRS was paid off even though cash was not readily available. An individual does not have to worry about being subjected to a late payment penalty brought on by the IRS. In addition, consumers can simply pay the balance owed on the card until it's completely paid off. The pros may seem enticing, but there are also cons with using a card to pay taxes.

Options for Iowa businesses to manage credit card debt

A vast number of consumers in the United States are overwhelmed with credit card debt. Not only does this affect consumers, but it also affects Iowa business owners. There are ways business owners can relieve themselves of credit card debt.

An example of this type of situation is that of a business owner who has an 11-year-old company. Due to bad procurements early on that were purchased with credit cards, the business is still suffering from an enormous amount of debt. The owner needs working capital to help pay off the debt that is owed. One way to have a better chance of obtaining working capital is for the business owner to separate business debt from personal debt to improve the appearance of the company's financial profile.

Student loan debt larger than credit card debt for Iowa borrowers

One of the most common forms of debt is credit card debt, which is one of the most difficult to pay off. Another debt that plagues a large number of Iowa borrowers is student loan debt, which is actually higher than credit card debt. Most students are concerned about how they will pay off these debts once they graduate.

The average amount each individual carries in student loan debt is $33,000. A Senator believes that focusing on ways to tackle student loan debt may actually be beneficial to borrowers and the overall economy. So far, positive changes have been made in regard to grants and student loans. The amount awarded in federal Pell grants has increased and the companies in the middle of federal student loans are becoming non-existent.

Debt consolidation for Iowa consumers in credit card debt

Credit cards can be some of the most difficult balances to pay off. In some cases where there is a high amount of credit card debt, consumers often take years to pay it off. Iowa consumers may have a way out through debt consolidation methods, but what is the best way to consolidate debt?

A great way to consolidate debt is through credit card consolidation. This is done by using a 0 percent balance transfer option or a low interest rate card to consolidate into one payment. This consolidation option fits those who are able to qualify for a low-rate balance transfer and are able to pay off the balance before the introductory rate ends. Another great way to consolidate debt is to obtain a personal loan. This option allows consumers to pay off their high credit card balances and pay just one monthly payment on their loan.

Iowa patients may reduce their medical bills

Many consumers owe a substantial sum of money in medical debt. One of the primary causes of Iowa consumers to file bankruptcy are from medical bills. Consumers may actually be able to negotiate their medical bills and save thousands of dollars.

First and foremost, it's important for patients to check their medical bill to make sure the charges are correct. This includes making sure there are no duplicate charges on the bill. It's recommended that patients check online to uncover the the actual cost for treatment. For-profit hospitals may allow patients to arrange payment plans that are affordable or even decrease the amount owed. For this to happen, patients will need to be honest with the hospital about their financial dilemma.

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