Category Archives: credit card

Satan’s Credit Cards

This article in CNNMoney identifies 9 credit cards industry experts told CNNMoney were among the worst in America for nose-bleed interest rates and ridiculous fees. Here’s the list:

  1. Applied Bank Unsecured Visa Gold Card
  2. First Premier Bank MasterCard
  3. Baby Phat Prepaid Visa RushCard
  4. Hooters MasterCard
  5. The Shack Credit Card
  6. Shell Select Member Card
  7. Visa Black Card
  8. JCPenney Rewards Credit Card
  9. Household Bank Premium Platinum MasterCard



Ransom v. FIA Card Services (U.S. S.Ct.)

Ransom v. FIA Card Services, N.A., f/k/a MBNA America Bank, N.A.
Certiorari from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Cir., Case 09–907
Argued October 4, 2010—Decided January 11, 2011

The Issue: Here the question was whether a Chapter 13 debtor could deduct the allowable auto payment from his monthly budget even though he did not have a car payment (i.e the vehicle was paid for). Put another way, is it fair for all debtors to be entitled to the maximum allowable deduction from their monthly disposable income, or must debtors establish what they actually pay?

The Answer: The Court ruled 8 to 1 (Scalia J. dissenting) that if a debtor makes more than the median income for his State then he must establish that he incurrs the amounts deducted from his monthly living expenses. No more automatic deductions if debtor cannot prove what he pays.

The Gist: To determine “disposable income” BAPCPA gave us the Means Test, which starts with gross monthly income then deducts living expenses – i.e. “amounts reasonably necessary for maintenance or support” of the debtor. In a Chapter 13 case the expenses considered “reasonably necessary” are identified in 11 U.S.C. §1325(b)(2)(A)(i) and include “applicable monthly expense amounts” as specified in National and Local IRS standards. Since BAPCPA was adopted, it has become common practice to include expenses at the maximum allowable level even if the debtor does not have, or pay for, that type of asset. This case appears to say that the party is over for Chapter 13 debtors.

See Also: this post from Chicago Attorney Steve Jacobowski on the Bankruptcy Litigation Blog regarding the Scalia dissent.


For the last time … you are a debt relief agency (get over it)

From the Bankruptcy Litigation Blog written by my colleague Steve Jakubowski comes thsi observation regarding today’s Supreme Court decision in Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, P.A., v. United States, No. 08-1119:

Back when bashing BAPCPA was in vogue I posited here that the BAPCPA’s “debt relief agency” provisions “look more like an effort to create a consumer bankruptcy lawyer clone who much like the ever-multiplying Agent Smith from The Matrix-Reloaded speaks and does precisely as directed with ruthless efficiency.”

Today’s unanimous opinion from Justice Sonia Sotomayor (with concurrences from Justices Scalia and Thomas) tells us not to worry because while attorneys are “debt relief agents” under the Code, §526(a)(4) “prohibits a debt relief agency only from advising a debtor to incur more debt when the impelling reason for the advice is anticipation of bankruptcy.”  Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, P.A., v. United States, No. 08-1119 (Op. at 13).

As with most bankruptcy decisions from the Supreme Court, the path taken to the holding is more interesting than the actual holding itself.  This post examines two aspects of that road

<<read the rest of the post>>

Posted via email from beyond bankruptcy

Disproportionality Even in Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Claims More Female Victims

An editorial by Rafia Khader, Law Clerk, M. Hedayat & Associates, P.C.

Bankruptcy is a trying situation for any individual. But for women it seems as if the laws yet again disproportionately burden them. I came across an interview with Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren a while ago that was both shocking and predictable. In it she said that changes to the bankruptcy law made in 2005 (oh those again!) made it much harder for women to make ends meet.

Before 2005 women dependent on domestic support from their ex-husbands were able to collect such payments with full confidence because declaring bankruptcy meant that the ex-husband’s debts, excluding domestic support obligations of course, would be wiped out. But no, the credit card companies didn’t like that! Why should ex-wives be able to collect the ex-husband’s money and not they! The injustice!  So in 2005, they had the laws changed. Today, discharge of credit card debt is not necessarily guaranteed and women are, as Warren says,  in ‘direct competition’ for the ex-husband’s resources. Thanks, credit card companies!

But perhaps what is most truly startling are the statistics from theU.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce. A study found that women were 32% more likely to have received supbrime mortgages than men. And that’s irrespective of income! Women were also 41% more likely have received higher cost subprime loans for their businesses. And we all know what suprime means. Thanks, Wall Street!

Sure, these statistics don’t establish any type of causal relationship and you can’t really blame credit card companies for ruining women’s lives (there are other institutions in places that have contributed to that), but the bottom line is this: women definitely do have it tougher. But of course I am a woman and I would say that.

But I am also right.


Forecasted Online Sales: A Few Clouds in Sight

Black Friday? Not out of the Woods Yet

Q+A: Is My Canceled Debt Really Canceled?

… According to the IRS, not necessarily.

Could my Canceled Debt be Taxable?
Yes. Typically, loan proceeds are not income because there is an obligation to repay. According to the IRS, when a lender forgives a debt it is considered income.

What Count as Income Anyway?
The IRS is concerned with gross income (i.e. “all income from whatever source derived”). If it is not debt canceled by bankruptcy or other qualified indebtedness, certain qualified student loans, a gift, or a bequest, it is income.

What About Income from my Canceled Mortgage Debt?
Income from mortgage debt cancellation is usually taxable. However, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 allows the exclusion of mortgage modification income. But only between the years 2007 through 2012.

What About Credit Card Debt Forgiveness?
In some cases, non-business credit card debt cancellation may be excluded from taxable income, but only if the cancellation is a result of bankruptcy or insolvency.

Where Can I Learn More About Canceled Debt Counting as Income?
The IRS has prepared an FAQ Page and Publication 4681 “Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonments.”

Source(s): IRS, U.S. Code,, and Small Biz Accounting Specialist.