7 Tips for Reducing Credit Card Debt This Year
More than five years have passed since the economy tanked and credit is once again easy to get and just as easy to abuse. What is not so easy is getting out of debt, especially for consumers with restricted income and the attendant limited options.
For the new year you can begin to get out of debt. You have options available to you through the following tips:
1. Contact your creditors. One thing that may be holding you back from getting out of debt is high interest rates. The higher the rate, the more difficult it is to trim your debt. What you can do is review your latest statements to learn what rates you are paying. Then, contact your credit card provider via its toll-free number and ask for a lower rate. Chances are you’ll be offered a lower rate, but if not call back in few days and renew your pitch.
2. Attack your debt with care. Which credit card has the largest balance? All things considered, make it a priority to attack the card with the largest debt first. Continue to make minimum payments with your other credit cards, but make more substantial payments with the one with the largest outstanding debt. Once that card is paid off, then turn your attention to the one with the next largest debt and so on. Soon, you’ll be out of debt as you concentrate on tackling your largest debt balances first.
3. Consider balance transfers. If you are offered a balance transfer option, read the notice carefully. It may be worth considering if the transfer is for a low fee and offers zero percent interest for up to 12 months. Just get the debt paid off before the special terms are ended.
4. Freeze your credit cards. Do you need multiple credit cards? Probably not. Instead of cutting up your cards and seeing your credit suffer for closing your accounts, simply put your unused cards away. You can freeze them in the freezer or stuff them in the drawer. Keep one card and resolve to use it only in emergencies.
5. Stay at it. It can take longer to get out of debt then it took you to get into debt. Resolve to stay the course even if it takes years to undo the mess. Set milestones and as you reach each one, reward yourself with a non-credit purchase such as dinner at a favorite restaurant or a weekend getaway.
6. Pay your bills on time. Keep paying your bills and pay these on time. Slip up here and you’ll make things difficult for you elsewhere. Late payments can cause your credit card interest rates to soar as those late payments are reported to the credit bureaus.
7. Get help. Not all credit reduction methods are easy to accomplish. If you are finding it difficult to get out of debt or are in danger of falling further behind, then contact a credit counselor for help. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling provides assistance and can work with you even if you do not have much money. Don’t delay — get help today.
Free Credit Reports
You should also keep tabs on your credit reports to ensure that the information about you is correct. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are the three credit reporting bureaus, with each one maintaining consumer information about you. By law, you are entitled to receive on free copy of each company’s credit report annually. You can do that by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com
See Also — How to Vanquish the Credit Card Debt Monster