Dear Atty. Joji,
Good day, Attorney! For months, I’ve been receiving letters for loan settlement from my bank regarding my unsettled credit card bills. I have been unemployed for weeks now and I can’t pay the debt as soon as possible. Will be I put in jail? Help me, Attorney, please!
When a debtor fails to pay (though he cannot be forced despite demand), his creditor causes the filing of court action to compel him to pay.
Since a credit card holder is considered a debtor, he may be compelled to pay if he refuses or fails to do so. Even though a debt is an action civil in nature, there is no way that the debtor or the cardholder may be imprisoned, However, according to Republic Act (RA) 8484 or the Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998, the use of an access device such as a credit card in obtaining money or anything of value, with intent to defraud or with intent to gain and fleeing thereafter, is punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment (Section 9 (j) and Section 10, RA 8484).
Also, according to the law, a credit card holder is presumed to have used his credit card with intent to defraud, if he abandons or surreptitiously leaves his place of employment, business or residence stated in his application for a credit card, without informing the credit card company of the place where he could actually be found if, at the time of such abandonment or surreptitious leaving, the outstanding and unpaid balance is past due for at least ninety (90) days and is more than P10,000 (Section 14, Ibid.)
This opinion is solely based on the story you narrated. Hope this helps.
Atty Joji Alonso