People with tremendous loads of credit card debt, medical bills, loans, and other forms of unsecured debt are often convinced that bankruptcy is their only option. That can have serious consequences for their future, however, as it becomes harder to get a mortgage, auto loans, and other forms of credit with favorable terms and remains on your credit report for at least seven years. There is a way out that may be a better solution for many with overwhelming bills. Credit card debt settlement is a process that can turn a burdensome problem into manageable one.
The key that reputable debt settlement firms stress to consumers is that this is a process. After you have paid off your bills, you’re not “done.” In fact, you’re never really done because good financial habits should be lifelong. While you are in a good program, you are likely watching every penny and sticking to your plan so you can be successful. It can be tempting to go back to your spending ways when your balances are paid, and many people do just that. They then begin the cycle again, facing bankruptcy yet again. You can avoid this and stay free from those high balances with the right money management and a few good tips:
– If you have to have a credit card, make sure that you use it responsibly. If you can resist impulse buying and can use the card for emergencies, then having one is perfectly fine. If you think this will get out of hand quickly for you, then having one will likely lead to more credit card problems. It’s better to build your credit in other ways, such as with student loans or utilities.
– If you choose to have a credit card, do not pay the minimum balances. This increases the amount you will owe exponentially, and it will take you much longer to pay it off. Ideally, you should pay your balance in full each month. If you can’t afford to do that, you should seriously consider cancelling your card, paying it off, and going to an all-cash system.
– Steer clear of store cards. These enticing little cards offer us ten to fifteen percent off our purchase when we sign up, but if you only pay the minimums, you will lose the benefit. These cards also have much higher interest rates than typical credit cards, and they also lead to more spending when we do not have the money.
– Pay on time! If you are late, you will have a hefty fee assessed. Paying online is a good way to ensure it gets to the creditor on time, and many sites allow for automatic payments.
– Don’t use your credit card like an ATM card. Cash advances have a different interest rate than that of regular transactions, and it is much higher. They are also likely to have service fees. Do not use them at the ATM and avoid the blank checks your credit card company may send in the mail. It is not free cash, and you will end up owing far more than you borrowed.
Credit card debt is one of the hardest to escape from because of high interest rates and unscrupulous tactics used by many credit card companies. New laws seek to protect consumers, but you also have to make sure that you protect yourself. If you’re in over your head, get debt settlement help immediately.