Credit cards definitely make life easier for many consumers. Financial institutions provide incentives such as cash back or travel points to encourage spending. Many savvy consumers utilize their credit cards to maximize these benefits. They charge standard monthly items such as utilities, gas, and groceries on the card that offers the best incentive. This method is most effective when the credit card is then paid in full each month.
Such credit card usage is responsible and the consumer can avoid paying interest while still reaping the benefits. Consumers who have accumulated balances on their credit card or cards often feel overwhelmed about repaying their debt. Paying off credit card balances is achievable, but requires both diligence and self-control.
Stop or Control Spending
The first step for consumers who find themselves in massive credit card debt is to stop charging items to credit cards. Depending on the severity of the situation, the ban on credit card usage may be temporary. A good rule of thumb is that a credit card balance should not exceed the discretionary monthly income of the user. Using cash instead of credit helps consumers demonstrate restraint and fully understand their normal spending habits. Many people who find themselves in debt do not realize how much they actually spend each month on unnecessary expenses.
Review Interest Rates
Financial institutions offer a variety of different cards that are geared toward specific types of consumers. Only applicants with the most stellar credit histories and scores receive prime interest rate cards. A large majority of the population only has fair to good consumer credit scores. Individuals with poor credit scores are frequently offered cards with higher than average interest rates. Whenever possible, these high interest rate cards should be consolidated or transferred to cards with lower interest rates. The costs savings could equal several hundred dollars in savings.
Create a Repayment Plan
An aggressive repayment plan will help consumers pay down debt quickly. Starting with the lowest card balance creates motivation. As the first balance disappears, begin working on the next highest balance. Try increasing the payments for each card by adding what would have been due on the card that was paid in full to the next card. Within a relatively short time, credit card debt will be history