Credit Card Companies Go on the Defensive

As lenders worry over unpaid bills, they reach out to consumers.

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Credit card companies, which have been hammered by the financial crisis, are getting increasingly worried about their customers' ability to pay their bills.

Check out these statistics, collected by

  • Several issuers have reported charge-off rates, the percentage of loans that companies don't expect to get repaid, of over 7 percent. Analysts say that number could get as high as 10 percent.
    • Bloomberg reports that the average charge-off rate was 7.1 percent in January compared to 4.6 percent in January 2008.
      • To protect themselves, credit card companies have tightened their lending requirements, which means lowering credit limits, limiting access to loans, and raising interest rates.
      • In response, a handful of credit card companies, including Discover, Capital One and Citigroup, have banded together to launch the website Visitors can get information and advice on how to get control of mounting debts.

        If you're faced with credit card debts you can't pay, the best resource is usually credit counseling. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling works with people to consolidate debts and teach them more about better budgeting.

        For more information, read:

        • "Debt Settlement Myths & Facts"
          • "The Reason Behind Capital One's Rate Increase"