FINANCIAL WORLD (AP) – Debt arbitration is making a comeback in a big way.
Companies are now offering debt arbitration for their credit card debts, often at much lower rates than in the past.
Consumers are getting a chance to buy lower interest rates on their credit cards at least through the end of 2017.
And while it’s unclear if the new rules will have a long-term impact on consumer spending, experts say they’re expected to boost the credit card industry’s profits by at least $1 billion a year.
“This is one of the biggest changes to the consumer credit industry in decades,” said Kevin O’Neill, a partner at law firm Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. “We expect that this will boost revenues, but we are not sure if that will last.”
The rules, which are currently being phased in in many states, go into effect on Jan. 1.
They allow debt buyers to pay off their debts as quickly as possible.
They also include protections against creditors who want to take the credit against their own accounts.
The Federal Reserve, which sets the rates, has said it expects the debt arbitration to have a significant impact on the credit market.
Consumers who need to pay a lower interest rate can opt to negotiate a lower balance with a creditor to avoid the risk of default.
“It’s one of those things that people can use as leverage,” said Adam Pascual, the chief executive officer of Equifax Inc. in New York City.
“People can negotiate a better rate, but they can also pay it down and still get a better interest rate.”
Debt arbitration, as it’s known, can take several steps to help a consumer pay for a debt, including: a request from a creditor for a lower payment, such as a modification to a debt that would reduce its value; a request for repayment of a lesser amount; or a request by a creditor that a borrower is unable to pay the balance.
If the debt is over $100,000, the creditor can use the terms of the debt contract to demand payment.
The amount of a credit card’s interest rate is not limited by the amount of debt.
The higher the interest rate, the higher the balance the creditor is allowed to take against the consumer’s account.
And for credit cards, the lower the interest the creditor pays, the more money it is allowed.
If a creditor takes a lower rate, it’s called a “loan” and the consumer has the right to take out a second loan against the debt at a lower amount.
This is the most popular method of settling credit card debt, according to data from credit scoring company Equifax.
Credit card companies say that because of the increased complexity of the terms, consumers can take out multiple loans at different interest rates.
This can lead to more than one consumer spending money on the same card.
In recent years, many credit card companies have implemented new and improved arbitration processes.
They have changed how they process disputes, which could reduce the amount that a consumer has to pay, said Peter Hulbert, a professor of consumer finance at Northeastern University in Boston.
“The arbitration process itself, by itself, does not provide the consumer with much value, especially if the person has to go to court to contest a charge,” Hulberts said.
The most common arbitration process in the U.S. is a dispute resolution process, in which a creditor will request a collection agency to do a collection.
When a consumer disputes a charge, the collection agency will send a letter to the creditor explaining what the charges are and what it wants to collect.
The collection agency can either agree to pay or deny the debt.
Consumers often have no choice but to go through this process, which is expensive and time-consuming, said Jennifer Korn, senior vice president for consumer and consumer affairs at consumer advocate Public Citizen.
“You need to have all the information available to you so you can make an informed decision,” she said.
But for the average consumer, it can be difficult to know how much the debt collector is asking for.
“In most cases, the debt isn’t going to be resolved until the debt collection agency has been paid,” said Korn.
“And this often leads to more debt and litigation.”
Consumer advocates say that the new credit card rules are an important step toward improving consumer financial security, but that they will likely be too weak for some consumers.
“There is a lot of uncertainty,” said David S. Bernstein, director of the Consumer Federation of America.
“Many people will have to find a new way to resolve disputes with their credit or debit card companies.”
“I don’t see any way that a typical consumer will be able to use the new terms,” said Hulborts.
“I’m not sure that it’s going to change the trajectory of consumer spending.”
Bernstein said that in addition to lower interest