JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) has given its customers with Canadian credit cards an unusual gift – debt relief. As the bank exits out of Canada’s credit card market, it is forgiving all outstanding debt on its two Visa cards in the country. Chase spokeswoman Maria Martinez said, “Chase made the decision to exit the Canadian credit card market. A further business decision was made earlier this year to forgive all outstanding balances in order to complete the exit.”
Two years ago, Chase stopped accepting new applications for its two Canadian credit cards, which were co-branded with Amazon and Marriott. The bank closed its existing accounts in March 2018 and blocked customers from incurring new charges, but it continued collecting payments on the remaining balances. This week, it announced that it had forgiven the remaining debt on those accounts.
Chase’s decision is extremely unusual. In most cases, a company that exits the credit card business sells the remaining balances due to a debt buyer, which will continue to collect the payments. Martinez said that the company “felt it was a better decision for all parties, particularly our customers, to forgive the debt.” Some recipients of the debt relief likened it to winning the lottery.
Chase said that its Canadian customers don’t have to worry about their credit being affected by this decision. The company has not disclosed how many customers were affected. It also has not disclosed the total amount of debt that was written off.