Seven ways to get out of credit card debt
By John Edmond
This may come as a surprise but if you only ever pay the minimum repayment on your credit card it will take you over 20 years to get out of credit card debt.
Borrowing long term on a credit card not a sensible way of managing money but millions of card holders are doing it every month. Here are seven ways to help you get out of credit card debt fast.
1. Don't use credit cards to buy everyday things.
In the past I, like many people, have bought my monthly shopping and paid utility bills on my credit card. At the end of the month instead of clearing the balance I've paid the minimum or maybe just a little bit more.
Six months later I'm still paying for groceries that were consumed months earlier and instead of working to get out of credit card debt I'm getting deeper and deeper into debt.
Credit cards should only be used to purchase occasional higher value goods and not day to day living expenses. Unless you have sufficient funds to completely clear the bill when it arrives, pay with cash. You will never get out of credit card debt if you use the card for day to day expenses.
2. If you are able to pay off your credit card out of savings do so.
With interest rates on savings as low as they are at present it makes no sense to pay 12 to 18% on a credit card so you can earn 3 to 5% on your savings. If you can, get out of credit card debt today by paying the bill in full.
3. Draw up a budget plan.
If you cannot pay the account in full then it's time to draw up a budget plan to get out of credit card debt as soon as possible.
A budget plan is a simple income and expenses statement for the week or month. It enables you to work out how much money you have spare each. From this work out how much you can afford to pay off your credit card bills. If necessary work extra hours and use the income to reduce the bill quickly.
4. Switch the balance with a 0% Balance Transfer
To help you to get out of credit card debt quickly move your balances to a new card offering 0% balance transfers. Then pay your budgeted amount to reduce the balance as much as possible within the 0% period. This way every dollar reduces the bill.
At the moment there are some cards still offering 0% without a balance transfer fee but I suspect these will disappear soon. Apply for these, if available, otherwise you may have to pay the 2 to 3% balance transfer fee.
5. Take out an Unsecured Personal Consolidation Loan
If after budgeting you are only able to pay the minimum, or just a little bit more, you may have to consider an unsecured consolidation loan to immediately get out of credit card debt.
Take out an unsecured loan as this will not put your home at risk. Currently is it possible to get some very good rates on unsecured loans so shop around.
Set the repayment term as short as possible and cut up your credit cards to avoid being tempted again.
6. Consider a Secured Personal Consolidation Loan
If you own your own property then the bank or lender may insist on a secured consolidation loan.
A secured consolidation loan simply means that you have to put up your property as security for the loan. The bank can, if you fail to make the payments, take possession of your home and sell it to get their money back.
Using secured consolidation loans to get out of credit card debt is not generally advisable. The interest rate will probably be no less, and is often higher, than the unsecured loan but your home is at risk.
7 . Refinance your mortgage
If you own your own home you may be able to refinance the loan (re-mortgage) for a higher amount and use the surplus to get out of credit card debt.
In many ways this seems an attractive proposition as interest rates are very low at present. If there is sufficient equity (value in excess of your borrowings) in your home your existing mortgage lender or another lender will lend additional funds.
If you can avoid this option I would recommend not to take it as you are converting short term debt to a long term mortgage and your home is at risk.
In the end you will pay more however, if the choice is between continuing with your credit cards with their high interest payments or a re-financing of your home, then the re-financing is an option.
Credit cards are one of the most expensive forms of debt and banks and other lenders are making billions every year from individuals with credit cards.
If you must have a credit card, and I confess I still have one, then use it only for exceptional purchases that can be repaid within a few months.
Don't use your credit cards for day to day living expenses, do your budgeting and help yourself get out of credit card debt.
About the Author
John worked for many tears in insurance and finance and now writes articles on a number of topics including debt management For more information go to Get out of Credit Card Debt
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