Credit cards can be a useful financial tool as long as they are properly managed, but in many cases, the debts that are owed on credit cards spiral out of control. It is very easy to spend money on a credit card without considering the consequences. The high interest rates that are charged on many credit cards can add to the problem and cause the debt to grow rapidly until it seems impossible to repay it.
It may be possible to cope with credit card debt simply by reorganizing one’s finances. Drawing up a budget may reveal a way for the monthly repayments of credit card debts to be made or even increased. It may, for example, be possible to identify savings that can be made in order to enable more money to be used to repay the credit cards.
When repaying credit cards it is important to set aside enough money each month to pay off the debts as quickly as possible. Most credit cards set minimum monthly repayments that are very low. If the borrower only repays these monthly minimums, then it will take a very long time to clear their debt. During this time, the interest on their debt will be accumulating rapidly and they will therefore end up paying much more to their creditor. It is, therefore, advisable to repay more than the minimum that is required each month. The larger the repayments that are made each month, the quicker the debt will be paid off and the less will be charged as interest.
It is also important to repay the credit card that charges the highest rate of interest first. There is no point repaying debts that cost less to keep while a higher interest date is growing so fast that you actually end up owing more money.
Another option for coping with credit card debt is to change the credit cards themselves. Changing from high interest credit card to one that charges a lower rate of interest will make it easier and cheaper to repay what is owed. Many credit cards also come with special offers, such as a period in which no interest will be charged on balance transfers. By transferring a debt to a credit card on which no interest will be charged, it is possible to stop a debt from growing. This will only be temporary, however, therefore, it is vital to clear the debt before the interest free period ends, or to ensure that the interest rate that comes into effect at the end of the period is not too high.
Should it prove impossible to cope with credit card debts despite taking these measures, it may be possible to renegotiate or consolidate the debts.
Debt negotiation, which is usually mediated through a professional service, involves renegotiating the terms of a debt. The creditor may agree to reduce the debt in order to enable the borrower to repay as much as they can of the debt. This can be a good alternative to bankruptcy for many borrowers.
Debt consolidation involves converting a number of high interest unsecured debts into one larger, low interest loan. This is usually organized through a debt consolidation company, although it may be possible for an individual to take out a new loan with better terms than their existing ones and therefore to consolidate their own debts.