Credit Card Debt Relief - It's Within Your Reach

Are you in need of credit card debt relief? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans have at least some degree of credit card debt. If you’re looking for the best way out, read on.

There are so many avenues available for credit card debt relief.. The trick is finding the one that best suits your situation. The first step is to order a copy of your credit report and find out your credit score. The higher your score, the more options will be available to you.

Next you’ll need to gather all your credit card statements together and figure out exactly how much you owe on each one, how much the monthly payments are, and the interest rate for each. It will help you to get everything organized up front.

Once you have all this information, you can see the big picture. Depending on the amount of total debt you have, your income, and your assets, one or more of these options will likely work well for you. If you have a choice, always opt for the way that does the least amount of damage to your credit score. Although this may not always be the easiest way to credit card debt relief, you’ll be better off in the long run.

If you’re not in default on any of your credit cards but you can’t comfortably keep making the monthly payments, you can:

  • Call your credit card company and try to negotiate better terms. Either lower monthly payments or lower interest rates. If you have a better credit card offer let your company know and see if they will match it. There’s no guarantees with this one, but sometimes they will work with you and it may be enough to relieve some financial pressure.
  • Apply for a new credit card with a lower interest rate or a great promotional rate. (Be sure to do the research before applying for a new card to make sure you know all the rates and fees associated with it.) Then transfer the high interest cards to the lower interest ones. This could potentially save you a lot of money.
  • Check out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. If you own a home and you have equity, this may be a good option for credit card debt relief. If you choose to go this route, your home will be collateral for the credit card debt but the interest rates will certainly be much lower and the total monthly payments should go down, too. The interest would also likely be tax deductible, saving you even more money.
  • If you don’t own a home or have equity you can borrow against, you can always sell a few things you don’t need and use the money to pay off your credit cards. This may seem simple but once you’re free from credit card debt, you’ll save more than you can imagine. Check out the sections on saving money and making more money for additional ideas like this.

If you’re already in default on some or all of your credit cards, most of the above options for credit card debt relief will not be available to you. However, there are still things you can do. One thing you need to be aware of is once your account is sent to collections, your credit score will suffer. Also, paying off the balance will not remove the item from your credit report. It will remain for seven to ten years.

However, just because one account has been sent to collections, doesn’t mean you should give up on the others. The more accounts can work out or pay off before this happens, the less your credit score will be lowered.

Below are a few suggestions to help you navigate your way toward credit card debt relief.

  • Call each creditor and try to negotiate a new payment schedule with lower monthly payments. Credit card companies would rather receive some money than no money. They probably won’t make it easy for you, but most will eventually work with you on this.
  • Another variation of this would be to call and ask them to reduce the balance owed on your credit card. This is called credit card debt settlement and it’s what the credit repair services advertise they can do for you for a fee. Be aware that there’s nothing those companies can do for you that you can’t do for yourself at no cost. Please don’t waste your money here.

    If you’re able to work out a settlement with your credit card company, they will expect the balance to be paid in full at that time. No more monthly payments. You can potentially save thousands but you will have to come up with a large amount of money all at once.

    Once you reach an agreement and before you send any money, have the credit card company email or send in writing, your agreement on their letterhead. This helps protect you from disputes in the future. Also make sure the company reports that your debt has been cleared to the credit reporting agencies. While this won’t remove it from your credit report, it will show that you made the effort and paid your debt.

  • Personal Bankruptcy. I hate to even mention this one because it should only be used a last resort. This is the worst thing you can do for your credit. It stays with you for seven to ten years and can affect far more than your ability to get a loan. It can potentially affect your ability to get employment, rent an apartment and can even raise your insurance rates. While bad credit can affect these areas too, bankruptcy is the most damaging.

    Before pursuing this option, try everything else first. You may be surprised to find that you’re able to get credit card debt relief without the need for bankruptcy. However, if you have no other alternatives or have already filed, you need to start immediately working on rebuilding your credit. Keep in mind that what happened most recently in your credit report will carry the most weight so start now.

As you can see, credit card debt relief is available in a variety of ways depending on your personal situation. If you’re in credit card debt try the suggestions listed above that best fit your needs.

Also take the time to figure out how you got into this situation to begin with. If it was because of medical or other unforeseen emergencies, it’s really not much you could have done to prevent that.

However, if you got here because of unchecked spending, fix that problem. Learn to spend responsibly by creating a budget and using it. This is the best way to make sure you not only stay out of debt, but you lower your financial stress as well.

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