Are There Any Alternatives To Eliminate My Credit Card Debt?[yoast-breadcrumb]
Are There Any Alternatives To Eliminate My Credit Card Debt?
Getting out from under credit card debt can feel totally overwhelming. The interest rates keep climbing, and the minimum payments barely make a dent in what you owe. It can make you feel like you’re drowning with no way to come up for air.
But don’t lose hope! There are alternatives out there to help you eliminate your credit card debt for good. As a financial services company, we want to walk you through some of the options so you can find the right solution for your unique situation.
Ask Creditors For Lower Interest Rates
This may sound too simple, but it’s always worth a shot. Call up your credit card companies and kindly ask them if they can reduce your interest rates. Emphasize that you want to pay off your balance but the high interest is making it really difficult. They may say no, but sometimes they are willing to work with you, especially if you’ve been a long-time customer in good standing.
If you do get approved for a lower rate, make sure to get the details in writing. And don’t let it make you complacent – put as much money as you can towards paying off the balances so you’re not just treading water. Check out this article on asking for lower interest rates for more tips.
Take Out a Debt Consolidation Loan
With a debt consolidation loan, you take out one new loan and use it to pay off your existing credit cards. This can make repayment easier by giving you just one monthly payment instead of many. And often the interest rate is lower than your credit cards.
But beware – these loans can also have drawbacks. You may end up paying more over the long run once you factor in fees. And if your credit isn’t great, you may only qualify for a predatory loan with sky-high interest. Do your research to find a reputable lender – here’s a helpful list to start with.
Use a 0% APR Balance Transfer Credit Card
Balance transfer cards offer a 0% interest rate for a promotional period, usually between 12-21 months. If you transfer your existing credit card balances over, you can make headway on paying down the principal without accumulating more interest.
Just be sure to read the fine print! There may be balance transfer fees, and the 0% rate often jumps to double-digit interest after the promo period. Make a plan to pay as much as possible during the 0% window so you’re not slammed with interest later. Here are some top-rated balance transfer cards to consider.
Borrow from 401(k) or Home Equity
In very specific circumstances, it may make sense to borrow against your 401(k) or home equity to pay off credit card debt. This can allow you to pay it off faster at a lower interest rate.
But this is really only advisable if you have a solid plan and budget to pay these loans back promptly. Otherwise you risk losing retirement savings or your home if you default. Consult with a financial advisor to see if this is the right move for your situation.
Debt Management Plan
Debt management plans are offered by credit counseling agencies. They help negotiate lower interest rates with creditors and set up a monthly payment plan. This can make paying off debt more affordable.
The catch is there are enrollment fees and it can hurt your credit score in the short term. Make sure to use an accredited, non-profit agency like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Here’s a helpful guide from the CFPB on how debt management plans work.
With debt settlement, a company negotiates directly with your creditors to lower the amount you owe. This can sometimes resolve debt for 30-50% less than the original balance. Sounds great right?
Well, there are some big risks. It will tank your credit score and creditors may sue you if negotiations fail. Unscrupulous companies take your money without providing services. Make sure to use a reputable provider and read reviews first. Here’s an in-depth look at debt settlement from the CFPB.
Declaring bankruptcy stops collections and wipes eligible debt clean. But it severely damages your credit for 7-10 years. And it doesn’t make all debts magically disappear – student loans, recent taxes, and secured debt like mortgages often remain.
Only consider bankruptcy as an absolute last resort if other options fail. Consult with a bankruptcy attorney to understand if it’s the right path forward for your unique situation. NerdTip: Look for lawyers certified by the American Board of Certification or National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are alternatives to eliminate credit card debt besides just chipping away at minimum payments. Consider all options and consult with a financial advisor to find the right solution for you. With some strategic planning and discipline, you can get out from under your debt for good!
At our financial services company, we want to help you find the best path forward. Reach out anytime to discuss your specific situation. We’re happy to walk you through the pros, cons and fine print of any option. There’s light at the end of the debt tunnel – let us help you get there!