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Student Leaving Behind Credit Card Debt


By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A foreign student considers leaving the country without paying their credit card debt. Ilyce and Sam explain why the student must pay off his debts.

Q: I'm not a US citizen, but I am here legally, studying at a university.

I have accumulated some credit card debt. What would happen if I leave the country after I finish my education without paying my debt? Is there any international law that would apply? Could they find me in my home country?

What could be the consequences of this situation?
(article continues below useful links)

A. Frankly, your question is quite problematic and disturbing. If you are in financial difficulty, you can seek credit counseling help. If you need time to pay your debts, you can structure a repayment plan. If you are so in debt that you canít cope, you can file for bankruptcy.

Itís hard to imagine that youíre even contemplating the idea of running up $20,000 or $30,000 in credit card debt and leaving the country. Itís shameful.

The only advice you should receive is to pay your debts. Youíve made use of your credit cards and should pay them off. If you canít, you should work within the system to negotiate a payoff or pay them over time.

If you simply leave the country, the credit card company will eventually charge off the debt and destroy your credit history and credit score. If you change your mind and want to come back someday to establish a life, get a job, buy a home and raise a family, you might find the specter of your foolishness coming back to haunt you.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glinkís latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyceís website




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