Chase Bank Forgiving All Debt Owed by Card Users in Canada

Julija A. Image
ByJulija A.
August 13, 2019

It’s not often that “credit card debt” and “happy ending” are a part of the same sentence, but in this case it’s entirely appropriate.

America’s Chase Bank is forgiving all outstanding cardholder debt in Canada to finalize its exit from the Canadian market. Chase retired its Amazon.ca Rewards Visa and Marriott Rewards Premier Visa last year, and this is the final step before the company can fully pull away. Customers expected that they would have to continue to pay their outstanding charges, but it would seem the owners of the bank changed their mind.

"Chase made the decision to exit the Canadian credit card market," said Maria Martinez, vice president of communications for Chase Card Services. "As part of that exit, all credit card accounts were closed on or before March 2018. A further business decision has been made to forgive all outstanding balances in order to complete the exit."

Customers seemed stunned.

"I was sort of over the moon all last night, with a smile on my face," said 55-year-old trucker Douglas Turner of Coe Hill, Ontario, in an interview for CBC. Douglas owed more than $6,000 on his now-defunct credit card. "I couldn't believe it."

Chase Bank, which is a part of JPMorgan Chase & Co., refused to state how many people were signed up for the cards and how much outstanding debt they had. According to claims from several customers, it’s certain that there were still people who were trying to pay off their debts.

“It’s crazy,” Turner said. "This stuff doesn't happen with credit cards. Credit cards are horror stories."

Turner says he racked up a sizable debt through Amazon purchases over the years and had to put $300 toward paying it off each month. After Chase Bank’s big move, he no longer owes a dime. Not only that, his last $300 payment was reimbursed several days later.

Paul Adamson, a consumer whose debt was also erased, told the CBC he originally thought he missed a payment after hearing his account was closed. "I'm honestly still flabbergasted about it," he said. "It's surprise fees, extra complications, things like that, definitely, but not loan forgiveness."

Asked why the bank decided to forgive debt instead of continuing to collect it, Martinez said that Chase “felt it was a better decision for all parties, particularly our customers, to forgive the debt."

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Albert Einstein is said to have identified compound interest as mankind’s greatest invention. That story’s probably apocryphal, but it conveys a deep truth about the power of fiscal policy to change the world along with our daily lives. Civilization became possible only when Sumerians of the Bronze Age invented money. Today, economic issues influence every aspect of daily life. My job at Fortunly is an opportunity to analyze government policies and banking practices, sharing the results of my research in articles that can help you make better, smarter decisions for yourself and your family.

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