I’ve received emails from readers about getting out of credit card debt so I wanted to share some ways you can spend around 15 minutes of your time and save yourself thousands of dollars.
Negotiating Lower Interest Rates
Before you call your credit card company, you need to be aware of your credit report and score. If you’re looking for a free option on checking your credit reports, you can use Annual Credit Report. You’re entitled to review all 3 of your reports for free. This is a completely free site – no trial and no membership sign-up. I want to mention, though, while you can get your credit reports through Annual Credit Report, you can not get your credit score.
You can use free option like Credit Sesame to get a credit score using data from Experian updated monthly. The free membership (no credit card required) allows you to see your credit score and you can also get suggestions on ways you can save money on your finances, like mortgages or credit cards. I wrote a review on Credit Sesame if you’re interested in how it works.
- Confirm your current interest rate and balance. It doesn’t hurt to make sure your end and their ends match with your account.
- Mention other offers. You want to make sure that you tell them you have received offers to switch to other cards with much lower rates.
- Don’t take no for an answer. It can be crushing to hear the customer service representative say no, but some companies encourage their call center employees to push just a bit back.
- Be willing to make the jump. If they are still being stubborn and won’t lower your interest rate one bit, then switching credit cards and transferring your balance may be the way to go.
Getting Out of Credit Card Debt
Now that you have managed to lower your credit card’s interest rate, take advantage and automate your debt payments. This has been a HUGE help for me. You can bypass a lot of mistakes and relapses if you automate your credit card payments with online bill pay. Most banks and credit unions offer this feature for free.
Try to pay the minimum on all but one of your debts. Put the rest of your debt reduction money into either your debt with the highest interest rate or the lowest balance. Which one is right for you? It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Highest interest rate method is the financially sound decision will get you out of debt faster in theory and lowest debt is the psychologically empowering decision which seems to have motivated many to stay on their debt free goal.
Photo Credit: Robert Scoble