If you are suffering from credit card debt, you’re not alone. Credit card debt is growing at an alarming rate, as more and more people find their balances getting larger and larger. But you really can achieve significant debt reduction by following some very simple strategies.
The problem, of course, with credit card debt is that interest can accumulate rapidly. This can result in larger monthly bills, which can lead to late payments, which in turn can result in even higher interest rates.
This spiral can quickly get out of control. The key to achieving credit card debt reduction is to break this spiral and begin to pay down your debt. The following are three ways to do just that.
1. Never Pay a Credit Card Late Fee
Late fees have been increasing by leaps and bounds lately, and grace periods having been getting shorter and shorter. Make sure you always pay at least your minimum payment on time. If you are absolutely unable to pay even that, then call your credit card bank and alert them. You might be able to buy yourself some time.
If you are late with even a single payment by as little as a day, there is a very good chance the bank will raise your interest rate, often by 50% or even more. Over time, this can can add up to charges far more significant than the 30 or 40 dollar late fee.
If you do miss a payment, then make sure and call your bank as soon as possible afterwards. Many banks will waive the fee if you asks them to, especially if you have a valid excuse (like you were ill or out of town). But in any case, get them to waive the fee, for this will most likely spare you from having your interest date raised and possibly save you hundreds of dollars or more.
2. Get Your Credit Card Interest Rate Lowered
If your credit card interest rate is too high, call your bank and ask them to lower it. Odds are, you could find a lower rate elsewhere, and your bank knows this. So call their bluff. Tell them you can get or have been offered a lower rate, and ask them to match that rate. If they refuse, all you have lost is a phone call. But if your request is reasonable (don’t ask them to drop your rate to %5), there is a very good chance they will lower your rate.
3. Get a New Credit Card
If your bank refuses to lower your rate, simply search for a lower rate card and transfer your balance. There are plenty of banks out there eager to accept balance transfers. Furthermore, even if you have made some late payments, thus causing your rates to rise, the odds are your credit rating hasn’t been affected. Banks usually alert credit bureaus when payments are significantly late (by like 30-60 days). If your credit rating remains unscathed, there should be nothing stopping you from finding a card with a lower rate and saving lots of money in the process.
If you utilize one or all of these methods, make sure you use any money you save to pay down the balance on your cards. Pay off as much of your balance as you can, and in no time, you will be free from the burden of credit card debt.