Over your head in credit card debt? Debt collectors calling you constantly? Having a problem sleeping at night? Terrified your salary might be garnished or that you might be sued?
There is help available
You don’t have to sit there worrying what the next phone call will bring. There are credit card relief programs available that can help. The four most popular are what I call credit card control, debt consolidation loans, debt settlement and the ultimate solution–bankruptcy.
Credit card control
There are several ways you might be able to better control your credit cards. The first is called the credit card “snowball” strategy. This is where you pay off the credit card that has the lowest balance first. Once you have it paid it off, you will have some extra money you can then use to pay off the credit card with the second lowest balance and so forth. If you stick to this plan and keep from adding any new charges to your credit cards you should be able to get them paid off within 2 to 3 years.
Another strategy for dealing with credit card debt that has helped a number of people is to transfer all of your credit card debts to a new card that has a lower interest rate. There are cards available called zero balance transfer cards. If you find one of these cards with a lower interest rate than those you are now using, you could transfer all those other debts to the new card. While you won’t end up with a zero balance, you will get a timeout from interest payments for 6 to 18 months, depending on the card you choose. This means you will have a period of time where you’re actually paying down the principal and not just interest. You should have lower monthly payments and should be able to get out of debt faster.
The only “catch” with this method is that you have to have above average to excellent credit scores to get the best zero percent balance transfer offer credit cards.
The pluses and minuses of a debt consolidation
A second of the credit card debt relief programs is to get a debt consolidation loan. You use it to pay off all of your credit cards, which accomplishes a couple of things. First, you’ll get all those debt collectors off your back. Second, you should have a lower monthly payment because you will have more time to pay off what you owe. Of course, this is one of the minuses of a debt consolidation loan–that you will be paying for much longer–maybe as long as 7 to 10 years. The other big minus of a debt consolidation loan is that it’s not eliminating any of your debt; it’s just moving it from one set of creditors to another. And again, you have to make sure you’re not running up any new debts while paying off your loan or you could end up in even more trouble than when you started.
Would debt settlement make sense?
A third way to get relief from your credit card debts is debt settlement. This is where you negotiate with your credit card providers to settle your debts–usually for a fraction of what you actually owe. This can get you out of debt faster than most other credit card debt relief programs.
The “nuclear” solution
The “nuclear option” for credit card debt relief is, of course, to file for bankruptcy. A chapter 7 bankruptcy (the most popular type) will discharge all of your unsecured credit card debts but will leave a bad stain on your credit report that can last as long as ten years. You would have a problem getting any credit during those ten long years and might not even be able to rent a house or apartment without a large security deposit.
If debt settlement interests you but you don’t feel you have the courage of a lion tamer, let us do the negotiating for you. Our debt counselors can probably negotiate a settlement that will have you completely debt-free in 24 to 48 months and with a payment plan you can easily afford.