Credit card debt in the United States is approaching nearly half a trillion dollars, and the average debt per household for revolving credit has reached almost $7,000.
The economic climate in the U.S. can change often and quickly. A recent study predicts that nearly 67 million Americans will have trouble paying credit card bills this year.
Take a hands-on approach for tackling credit card debt
In addition to the record-high level of debt, interest rates are at near-record highs around 17%, meaning the average household pays an extra $1,100 per year in interest payments, according to financial website NerdWallet. To address that debt, take these steps:
Find a payment strategy: There are several methods you can use to reach your goal of paying off credit card debt, including:
- Pay more than the minimum to whittle down interest charges
- Prioritize your debts and pay off the smallest debt first – known as the snowball method
- Pay off the card with the highest interest rate first – known as the avalanche approach
- Schedule automatic payments to avoid paying late fees
Debt consolidation: If you have good credit but feel overwhelmed by several payments, consolidating your credit debt into one account may make sense. You can do this by:
- Using or opening a credit card with a 0% balance transfer
- Taking out a fixed-rate personal loan
Talk to creditors: If you are having trouble keeping up with credit card payments, contact creditors and negotiate smaller payments and lower interest rates, or skipping a payment without incurring a penalty. Companies may be willing to work with you, especially when uncertainty exists in the economy.
Seek outside help: If you are overwhelmed by monthly credit card payments, there are other options to get your debt under control. They include:
- A debt management plan with the help of a nonprofit credit counseling agency
- Agreeing to a settlement plan with the creditor
- Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection
Consult with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney
Filing for bankruptcy is not an easy thing for most people to do. However, in many cases, it is the best option to deal with overwhelming debt and find your way back to financial freedom. An experienced lawyer here in New Jersey can help you weigh your choices and achieve the best possible outcome.