Millions of people feel trapped by their credit card debts, so I’ve put together ten powerful credit card debt reduction techniques for you to consider.
1) Don’t Make Your Credit Card Debt Any Bigger
So if you’re serious about getting rid of your credit card debt, get the scissors out and start chopping. Destroy every one of your credit cards and don’t forget to include your store cards.
From now on, until your credit card debt is reduced to zero, use cash for all your transactions. Set yourself a monthly budget for personal expenses. Draw out a set amount of money at the start of each month and keep within that limit. If you want something and don’t have enough money, you can’t afford it.
And if you must keep a credit card make sure you choose the one with the lowest credit limit available and don’t carry it with you. Only use it on pre-planned occasions when it’s the only payment method available. The chances of your credit card debt growing will be greatly reduced if you can avoid the danger of impulse buys.
2) Never Pay The Minimum
Most credit card companies require that you repay a minimum amount each month, normally “3% of the outstanding amount or $10” whichever is the lowest.
But that’s one of the biggest financial mistakes that anyone can make. Banks and credit card lenders all over the globe make billions in profits because people repay their debts are the minimum monthly figure.
For example, if you owe $1000 on a credit card and make the minimum monthly repayment, it could take you more than 20 years to repay that debt. And in the process, it would cost you more than $3000. That’s three times that amount that you originally borrowed!
So from now on, make it your aim to carry out your credit card debt reduction as quickly as possible. Pay off as much as you can every month. I’ll show you how to free up extra month to repay your debts later in this article.
The longer you take to repay your credit card debt, the more you’ll swell the banks’ profits.
3) Negotiate A Lower Interest Rate
But in the meantime, you can take steps to reduce the amount of interest you pay. Contact your credit card issuer(s) and ask them to reduce the rate of interest on your account. They’ve always got some sort of special offer that they could give you for perhaps 6 months. At this stage, it’s always a good idea to look at the interest rates available for new customers on other credit cards. It will help you to decide how good their new offer is.
And if you don’t get a reasonable offer, tell them that you’ll move your balance elsewhere. Who knows, they may be able to offer you something better, in order to keep your custom. After all, you represent a nice regular income for them (as long as you owe them money, that is).
If that still doesn’t bring the desired results, move on to number four below.
4) Find A Credit Card With A Lower Rate
Search the internet for the credit card with the lowest rate of interest and apply to transfer the balance of your existing credit card account(s) to the new lender. The less interest you pay each month, the more cash you’ll have to reduce your overall debt.
You may even be able to get a 0% interest rate for the first six months on your new card. Instead of having to pay a certain amount of interest just to stand still every month, you’ll have even more cash available to reduce the size of your debt.
Credit card debt reduction is like running on a treadmill. You spend vast amounts of energy without getting anywhere. So a six month interest free period is the financial equivalent of someone switching off the machine.
After six months without having to pay interest, its possible to knock a sizable hole in most credit card debts.
5) Avoid Unnecessary Fees And Penalties
It pays (literally!) to know all the terms and conditions of your credit card agreement. Find out all the ways it’s possible to incur additional fees and penalties…and then take steps to avoid them.
Know your credit limit and stick to it. Know the minimum monthly payment and when it has to be paid by. To make sure, you could set up an automatic payment from your bank to your credit card account every month. Set a monthly sum that’s bigger than the minimum amount required. That will prevent any penalties for late payments. You can then pay extra towards your account as and when you have extra cash available.
As far as the annual fee is concerned, this is just blatant profiteering by lenders. If your can has an annual fee write to your lender asking for it to be waived. If they don’t agree, move your debt to a card provider that doesn’t operate an annual fee.
Lenders make billions every year from basic interest payments alone, don’t give them the jam on top as well.
6) Focus On Repaying Higher Interest Credit Cards First
If you have more than one credit card account, take a look at the rate of interest that applied to each card. Use the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) to sort out the cards with the highest to the lowest rate. Once you’ve done everything that you can to reduce the interest rates, focus on repaying the cards with highest APR first.
This means paying the monthly minimum on every card, then using the rest of your monthly repayment money to reduce the debt on the highest interest card. In the long run, this will reduce the overall amount of interest that you have to pay, and will speed up your credit card debt reduction.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that credit cards sometimes charge different amounts of interest on different types of debt. For example, balance transfers might receive a special low rate, while new purchases will be charged at a the lenders standard (and usually higher) rate. It’s worth taking this into account when ranking your credit cards according to their interest rate.
7) Free Up Other Money
Think of different ways to increase your income and free up extra money to pay down your credit card debt.
Could you work more hours, claim any overtime or extra responsibilities. Or how about a second job for a few months?
Alternatively, have you got any assets that could be used to reduce your credit card debt? Have you got anything to sell? Or have you got any money sitting in a savings account? It makes no sense to be paying interest at a much higher rate on your debts, while you have savings that receive a low rate of return.
Every extra cent that you can throw at your debt will speed up the repayment period and save you money on interest.
8) Consider Consolidating
If you own a property, it’s possible to consolidate your debt at a much lower rate of interest by securing the debt over your house. Of course, if you take this option, your home will be at risk if you fail to keep up with the repayments.
If you don’t like the sound of this option, it’s still possible to wrap up your credit card debts at a lower rate of interest with an unsecured personal loan.
9) Consider Debt Reduction
Unlike debt consolidation, which negotiates a lower rate of interest over a longer period of time, debt negotiation involves negotiating to reduce the overall amount of your debt with your lenders.
The basic idea is simple, you select a agent to deal with your lenders. They contact your creditors and make an offer of reduced payment on your behalf. In many cases, the lender will accept the reduced amount if there is little prospect of them receiving the debt in full.
However, this option will severely damage your credit score. It will have major consequences for your finances for the foreseeable future. So in most cases, this option is usually chosen as a last resort for people who reach the stage where they can’t even afford the monthly interest on their credit card debt.
10) Focus On The Future
If you’ve ever thought “I wish I had more money”, consider this;
Let’s say you have credit card debts of $20000. Which means a minimum monthly repayment of (at 3%) $600. But if you didn’t have that debt buy amazon aws ses account to repay, you’d have $600 of free income every month. That’s $7200 a year. Free income for you to spend or save as you choose. That’s one of the major benefits of clearing your credit card debt. And just consider how much “extra” income you’d have if you owed $30000, $50000 or even more.