If you are in a position to pay down your credit card debt, start now. If you are only able to make the minimum monthly payments or no payments at all, we encourage you to explore all of your options for consolidating your credit card debt. Trying to manage credit card debt is tough. The fact is that if you’re carrying credit card debt forward each month then you are likely to pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars in interest charges over time.
Thinking about consolidating your credit card debt? Here’s what you need to know.
- Consolidating your credit card debt means taking out a new loan. Your current credit card bills will be paid off by the new loan and you will be responsible for paying one monthly payment.
- Make sure you can afford the new loan payments.
- Make sure the interest rate on the new loan and other lending terms are more favorable than the terms of your current credit card debt.
- If you consolidate your credit card debt and then continue to make purchases on your cards, then you are going deeper into debt. In this scenario, you are unlikely to succeed in paying down your debt.
- Keep an eye out for promotional interest rates that only last for a short period of time. In some cases, if you do not pay off the balance of the loan prior to the promotional rate expiring, you will have to pay the new, higher interest on the whole amount. Read the fine print.
- Take the time to shop around and compare loan terms and interest rates. You want to know how much you will pay in interest and fees over the life of the loan.
Credit Card Balance Transfers
Many credit cards offer a zero-percent or low-interest balance transfer for a period of time. You may be thinking about transferring some or all of your credit card debt to another card offering this incentive. It is important to know how long the promotional interest rate applies. After the promotional period expires the interest rate may be quite high and your monthly payment may increase.
If you choose to do a balance transfer, avoid making new charges to that credit card until the balance transfer is paid off in full. This helps to ensure you will pay off the balance and not get hit with additional interest charges.
Make paying down your credit cards a priority.
Not all debt is created equally. For example, paying a mortgage over 30 years is generally considered a wise investment. Paying on a credit card for years is not a wise financial move.
Consider this: If you owe $4,717 on a credit card with a 15 % interest rate and make only the minimum monthly payment of $189, it will take you 10 years to pay off the debt and your total repayment amount will be $22,896.
Make paying off your credit cards a priority.
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If you’re deep in credit card debt that you cannot pay off.
If you are struggling to make ends meet, and you simply do not have enough income to reasonably pay down your credit card debt, then bankruptcy might be the debt relief solution for you.
Find out more about being debt free in our guide: All About Debt Relief
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