Get Help With Credit Card Debt
If credit card debt is getting you down now’s the time to take charge of your finances and get back in control of your life!
Are you sinking under a mountain of credit card bills each month? Do you avoid opening the envelopes and emails? Unfortunately they won’t. But help with credit card debt is available and the sooner you face your credit card problems the sooner you’ll be in control of your finances.
Many of us live beyond our means and rely on credit cards to get us through the month. We think the odd late payment here and there doesn´t matter, or a few extra purchases on the card won´t make much of a difference to the balance we owe.
Then suddenly something changes: we lose our job, we can´t work due to illness, or we would like to make the choice to work a few less hours and enjoy life more. But those credit card debts are mounting and we don´t know how to deal with them.
Credit card debt – you’re not alone
Something to bear in mind when you have what seems like unmanageable credit card debts is that you’re not on your own. Having credit card debt is nothing to be embarrassed about. Some people ignore taking debt advice as they feel ashamed that the problem has got out of control.
At the end of October 2014 total credit card debt in the UK was £60.8bn. This amounts to an average credit card debt of £2,303 per household. Based on average interest rates, if only the minimum payment is made every month it would take 25 years, 3 months to clear the debt (source: The Money Charity).
More than 25 years to pay off £2,303? If you weren’t convinced before you should be now – credit card debt needs to be managed.
How can I get my credit card debt under control?
The first thing you must do is be realistic and face the problem. You’ve read this far which means you’re on the way to solving your credit card problems.
Let´s look at how you can clear those credit card debts.
- Get advice. There is plenty of free and confidential credit card debt advice available in the UK. Advisors will look at the amount of money you owe and your personal circumstances and suggest a course of action.
Advice on how to get rid of credit card debt is available from
- The Citizen’s Advice Bureau
- The National Debtline
- Debt Advice Foundation
- Money Advice Service
- Step Change
- Stop using your credit cards. Cut them up. You don´t need them and they will only be a temptation to build up more debt. Clearing your credit card debts will be satisfying and get you in control of your finances. But it’s far too easy to start again if you have that one card sitting in your purse or wallet. Get rid of all your cards now!
- Try and pay more than the minimum payments each month. Paying the minimum just prolongs your debt. Have you ever worked out how long it will take and how much you will pay in total if you only make the minimum payments on your credit cards?
By doing this you’ll see how much extra of your hard-earned cash you’re giving to the credit card companies. Then consider what you could buy in the future with that extra money.
- Pay on time. Set up a direct debit so your credit card bill is paid automatically and you don´t have to worry about late payment charges.
- Prioritise your credit card debts. Look at the interest rates on each card and pay the ones with the highest rates first. Don’t ignore those with the lower rates, but if you can make larger payments on the higher rate cards your debt will reduce more quickly.
- Shop around for other credit cards with 0% balance transfer rates. Some credit card companies offer this incentive to new customers. This can be a benefit for smaller amounts of credit card debt, although you must be disciplined and not use the new card to make purchases. You should also make sure you are aware of the term of the balance transfer as they are sometimes only for a limited period.
- Consolidate your credit card debts. Transfer balances to cards with lower rates if you have any available credit.
- Ask if credit card companies will reduce your interest rate. Some will and if you don´t ask you may be missing an opportunity to reduce your credit card payments.
- Don´t use credit cards to withdraw cash. This is one of the most expensive ways to use a credit card, with interest charges being extremely high.
Ways to pay off your credit cards
Whilst you may be able to see an end to your credit card debts by using the advice above, sometimes the amount owed is too large to pay back or you simply don´t have enough income to pay the debt. If this is the case there are still options available to help you clear what you owe on your credit cards.
Depending on the amount you owe you should consider:
Talking to your creditors
- Debt Management Plan
- Debt Relief Order