Credit Card Debt and Personal Bankruptcy

by Hermin Dowe on December 20, 2012

From Napa and Fairfield to Oakland and Antioch, we hear about credit card debt every day.

Image courtesy of James Barker /

How it all began – the story of credit card solicitations, promotions, and gimmicks

One day you received in the mail an invitation from a bank to accept a pre-approved credit card. It seemed flattering. So without much thought, you completed the application. Within a few weeks, another envelope arrived – with your first Visa or MasterCard. Without knowing it, you had taken your first step on the well worn path of credit card debt.

What the bank probably didn’t tell you (at least not in a straightforward way) is that they made money whenever you used the card, especially if you didn’t pay the balance in full. So even when you only made small payments, they encouraged you to spend more. What do they care if you end up in credit card debt? Their main concern is profit.

Then another application arrived in the mail – this time from your favorite department store. They had an incentive that might help you save money. After that, there was another invitation from a bank – with an even better promotional offer to attract your attention. Credit card debt was probably the last thing on your mind as you accepted these offers.

If you are like most Americans, you had more than one credit card before you were 21 years old.

Credit card debt is a problem for a staggering number of American consumers. Consider these facts:

  • Visa reported 261 million U.S. cardholders as of Sept. 30, 2011.
  • MasterCard reported 176 million U.S. cardholders at the end of 2010.
  • The average credit cardholder has 3.5 credit cards.1
  • Half of college undergraduates had four or more credit cards in 2008. That's up from 43 percent in 2004 and just 32 percent in 2000.2

The skyrocketing personal bankruptcy rates in the San Francisco Bay area are directly related to the credit card companies’ efforts to attract new customers. If you have an overwhelming amount of credit card debt, you can call the Dowe Law firm for a free, confidential consultation.

Your new life starts with a frank conversation about your credit card debt, your income, and your choices. We’re here to help you sort through your options. Call us today for a free consultation.

One last word about credit card debt – the companies that want you to borrow from them are attempting to make money by encouraging you to use your credit card. You must understand that bankruptcy and debt counseling can get you out of trouble but only your good judgment will keep you out of trouble. Remember: Your personal, confidential consultation is free. Call us today at 510-233-7700 if you need help.



  1. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. January 2010.
  2. Mae, Sallie. How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards. April 2009.
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