WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., Dec. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Federal Reserve's recent decision to raise interest rates is widely expected to force up credit card rates, making it more critical than ever for consumers to get their debt under control, according to officials at Vantage Acceptance.
The Woodland Hills, Calif.-based debt relief company said it's up to the challenge as a trusted leader in providing debt settlement and credit management solutions.
Fed chair Janet Yellen on Dec. 16 announced a .25-percent hike in the interest rate charged to banks, the first such increase since 2006. The long-anticipated move is an attempt to ward off inflation as the economy continues to recover from the Great Recession.
The increase is actually a good thing for the economy because it shows continued faith in the recovery, most experts agree. But it, and what comes later, might not be so great for consumers holding a lot of credit card debt.
Most credit cards these days have variable rates, allowing credit card companies to adjust the interest rates they charge customers based on changes in the rates they pay to access the capital they lend.
Based on the average American household's credit card debt of $15,355, the .25-percent Fed rate hike, if entirely passed along to credit card holders, would result in a $125 increase in interest costs for the average household over five years, according to Sean McQuay, NerdWallet.com's credit card expert. NerdWallet has created a chart showing the impacts over 5, 10, 20 and 25 years.
Those impacts might not seem huge, but that's only accounting for this rate hike. Two-thirds of economists polled by Reuters think the Fed will hike rates again sometime over the next three months.
Many experts think these credit card rate hikes will come quickly. After a Fed rate increase, credit card companies don't have to wait 45 days to raise their rates for customers like they do when they implement an increase entirely on their own.
Consumers whose credit card debts have grown out of control, to the point where they can only afford to make the minimum monthly payments, can turn to Vantage Acceptance for help. Vantage will negotiate with their creditors to accept an amount smaller than the total debt owed, sometimes as low as 40 percent of the debt, a debt solution that can be less damaging to one's credit record than filing for bankruptcy protection.
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SOURCE Vantage Acceptance