Credit-card companies use this information to make all sorts of decisions about consumers, including whom to target with which offers.
To listen to credit-card companies argue that high levels of consumer debt are not their fault is to hear, ringing in your ears, the complaints of the auto industry 40 years ago It's a matter of "personal responsibility" the credit companies say.
Bean, but cash-swapped parents worry about whether they'll even make a dent in next month's credit-card bills.
About one-third of clients seen at the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Los Angeles have credit-card debt so large they won't be able to pay it off in their lifetimes - not if they are paying up to 30 percent interest on their cards, counting penalty fees.
The arrangement is attractive to creditors, too, because it allows them to get some money back, whereas if the client just stopped paying or declared bankruptcy, the debt is ``charged off'' and represents a total loss to the credit-card company.
Anne Viricel, a veteran of Springboard's debt-management program in Alta Loma, recalls one of the money-saving strategies that helped her eventually pay off $28,000 in credit-card debt: Stockpiling packets of bleu cheese dressing from Carl's Jr.
Another benefit of the program is to couple credit-card payment with electronic filing in order to reduce the overall volume of paper that the IRS receives.
Taxpayers who file electronically, either through an authorized tax practitioner or with commercially available tax-preparation software, or who use the existing TeleFile program, are able to take advantage of this credit-card payment option.
In 1977, the top 50 banks had half of all credit-card
accounts; today the top 10 control over three-quarters, helping explain why interest costs have climbed to such heights.