Has your credit card debt spiraled out of control? Are you unable to make even your minimum monthly payments? Are you being hassled or even threatened by your creditors or by debt collectors? Well, sit back, take a deep breath and relax. Here are four foolproof ways for consolidating your credit card debt that can get you out of trouble and reduce all that stress you’re experiencing.
Transfer all your debts to a new card
The first foolproof way to consolidate your credit card debt is to transfer all of your current debts to a new card with a lower interest rate. Today, many of the credit card providers are offering what are called 0% interest balance transfer cards. If you can do this, you will pay 0% interest for the first 6 to 18 months (depending on the card you choose), which represents a sort of timeout. This is time where all the money you pay will go against reducing your balance. If you have a decent credit record, you may be able to qualify for an interest rate as low as 12.99% when your introductory rate expires. You will have consolidated your debts at a lower interest rate and should be able to get out of debt much easier.
Get a loan
A second way to consolidate your debt is by getting a loan and using it to pay off all of your credit card debts. You should have a lower interest rate on the new debt than on the cards you are paying off. Your monthly payment on the new debt should be lower than the combined monthly total for the debts you’re consolidating and the new debt will have an interest rate that’s fixed instead of variable. When done right, a debt consolidation loan can fast-track the rate at which you get out of debt, improve your credit rating and lower the amount of interest you have to pay.
Refinance your mortgage
Do you have a fair amount of equity in your home – like $15,000 or more? If so, you could refinance your home, cash out your equity and use it for consolidating your credit card debts. To do this, you will probably have to have had your mortgage for more than 10 years – assuming it’s a 30-year mortgage. This is because during the first 10 years of that loan, you’re paying mostly interest. However, after those initial 10 years, you’ll be paying on the loan’s principal and will be creating equity.
Borrow from yourself
A third foolproof way for consolidating your credit card debts is to borrow from yourself. If you have a 401(k) retirement plan, you might be able to borrow from it. Most employers that offer 401(k) plans will allow their employees to borrow from the money that is in their accounts up to a total of $50,000 or 50% of the account’s value, whichever is less. If the value of your plan is less than $20,000 you may be able to borrow as much as $10,000. No matter how much you borrow from the fund, you will have five years to repay the money.
Do you have a whole life insurance policy? If so, you could borrow against what is called its cash value. There are several advantages to this. First, you won’t have to complete an application and there is no credit check. Second, you won’t have to repay the money you’ve borrowed based on some set schedule. For that matter, you won’t have to repay it at all if you choose not to.
Seek credit counseling
The fourth foolproof way for consolidating credit card debt is to find a credit counseling agency in your city. If not, it’s easy to find one online. Regardless of which way you go, you will have a debt counselor who will work with you to develop a payment plan and then “sell” it to your creditors. Once all your creditors accept the plan, you won’t have to pay them anymore. Instead, you will pay the agency every month. You will have consolidated your debts and should have a payment plan you can afford.