Debt can easily get out of control if a person is not diligent. The good news is that debt can be managed. The most troublesome type of debt for consumers today is credit card debt.
Millions of credit card customers are searching for a means to manage their financial responsibilities. Often debt management is found through credit card consolidation.
How to Consolidate Credit Card Debt?
There’s no “best” option, but some may be less risky or fit your situation better than others. Consider these different ways you could get money to consolidate credit card debt:
- Work with A Nonprofit Credit Counseling Organization
Credit counseling organizations are often nonprofits that offer people advice and help them create plans for paying off their debts. Look for a National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) accredited organization if you’re considering this route.
- Take out A Personal Loan
You can find personal loans from banks, credit unions and online lenders. Your credit may be a factor when the lender determines your eligibility and the interest rate on your loan.
- Use a Balance Transfer Credit Card
Balance transfer credit cards typically offer an introductory 0 percent interest rate on balances that you transfer to the card within a certain amount of time — and sometimes even on purchases.
- Borrow or Withdraw Money from A Qualified Retirement Account.
If you’ve been putting money away in a retirement account, such as an employer-sponsored 401(k) or an IRA, you might be able to use those funds to pay off your debts.
- Borrow Against Your Home or Vehicle
You may be able to take money out of your home or vehicle by using a cash-out refinance or a HELOC. Banks, credit unions and online lenders offer these options to consumers.
- Borrow Money from A Friend or Family Member
Turning to relatives or friends for money truly puts the personal into personal finance. Proceed with caution.
Credit card debt consolidation can often create more of a financial burden if you do not use a careful approach. It is very important that you have your credit card accounts under control and are not over extended credit wise.
One common solution to consolidate credit card debt is by transferring a high interest rate card balance to a credit card that has a lower interest rate. As an example, maybe you have several credit cards that have a balance of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars and a high rate of anywhere from 17 to 20 percent or more.
A huge amount of money could be saved yearly by simply moving those higher balances to the card that has a lower interest rate.
Perhaps you have a card that has an interest rate of 13. 5 percent or lower. It may be possible to transfer the higher interest card balance to the lower interest rate card.
With a balance that is currently charged several points higher you would see a significant savings by transferring your higher balance to a newer lower interest rate card. This would be a positive method to consolidate credit card debt.
But wait just a minute. There are a number of downfalls that need to be addressed before considering this sort of credit card debt consolidation.
Before you transfer any balances please consider the following pitfalls: The new card that you are considering may be offering a teaser rate and at some point in the future that teaser rate will expire and become a higher interest rate.
How to Read the Fine Print of Credit Card Offers
Read the fine print terms of the new card so that you are aware of exactly what the new higher rate will be in the future and do not suffer any set backs to your debt consolidation plan.
The “empty card” syndrome: If you have decided that moving your high rate balance to a lower rate card will help you to consolidate your credit card debt, make sure you have a plan for that new zero balance card.
Do not become a victim of the “empty card” syndrome. Many people will find themselves back to square one and in debt by charging again on their zero balance card only because of the convenience and the zero balance.
Do not let your mind trick you into this type of mentality, you will only be struggling with more debt and fail in your debt consolidation plan. One option is to make that card disappear from site as you are less likely to use it, if it is not easily accessible.
In other words, out of sight is out of mind. If you don’t see the card, you will not use the card and therefore will not defeat the purpose of consolidating your credit card debt.
If you consolidate credit card debt by moving a high balance to a lower interest rate card be alert to the drawbacks of empty card syndrome and the teaser rates of the new card.
Credit and debt must be managed responsibly, otherwise you will find yourself in a grave financial dilemma.