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Are you struggling with credit card debt? Are you tired of overspending and living paycheck to paycheck? Credit card debt is one of the most common types of debt and can feel complicated and confusing as you try to work toward financial freedom.

How to stay on top of your credit card bill

One of the best ways to get your credit card bill under control is by implementing some time-tested strategies. Implementing these tips will help keep you on top of what’s going on with your finances and, more importantly, help stop debt from spiraling out of control.

Track your spending

An important first step is to track your spending. Once you’re able to see where your money is going, you can more easily find areas where you can cut back. There are many different apps that will allow you to track your spending and budgets; some are available at a low cost, and some are even free.

Transfer your balances to lower interest cards

Transferring a credit card balance with a high-interest rate to one with a low-interest rate can help save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest, which is money that can be applied to reducing your debt faster.

Always make your minimum payment, at the very least

By making your minimum monthly payment, you can help reduce the total amount of interest you’ll pay on your credit card. You can also make additional payments toward the principal to help reduce the balance even faster. Keeping up with regular payments on your credit cards can also help protect and improve your credit score.

Debt Relief: Understand Your Options 

Pursuing debt relief can be a confusing process. By understanding your options—and the consequences of each—you can make informed decisions to help relieve some of the stress associated with debt.

Debt relief options

There are several different types of debt relief available. We recommend consulting with an expert to get advice on which type of relief is best for your situation.

Debt Settlement: A debt settlement company negotiates with your creditors on your behalf to reduce the total amount that you owe them. Debt settlement companies have more leverage with the creditors to get a higher reduction in debt (a reputable company may even help you save up to half, or more) and will also handle any complexities that come along with settling your debt. Debt settlement could help resolve your debt in as little as 24–36 months.

Debt Consolidation: A loan is taken out that is then used to pay off your existing debts. This consolidates all your debt into a single payment that is made to the company you received the loan from. These types of loans can be challenging to qualify for and often come with additional fees.

Debt Management: You will work with an expert who helps create a budget, negotiates with creditors for reduced interest rates and creditor fees and develops repayment plans. The plans themselves are often subject to fees that will add to your overall debt.

Credit Counseling: You provide all your personal information to a nonprofit credit counselor, who then helps you create a budget and recommends a debt management plan.

Bankruptcy: If you’ve tried other methods of debt relief but can’t seem to get ahead in the end, you may be eligible for bankruptcy. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are the most common for individuals. Most people think bankruptcy is a “quick fix” for solving debt problems, but it can actually be quite complicated, involve additional fees, and come with long-lasting negative impacts to your credit score that could affect future purchases and loans. Bankruptcy in either form should only be considered after consulting an expert debt consultant.

When should I seek debt relief?

The main sign that you need help getting out from under your credit card debt is a consistent lack of funds for anything other than your minimum monthly payments. If you can’t pay off credit card debt with the money in your budget, or you’re missing out on good opportunities because you have to make so many sacrifices to stay afloat financially, then it may be time to take action.

Credit Card Debt Relief and COVID-19

When the coronavirus pandemic struck in March 2020, it dealt a significant blow to the world’s economic system. Credit card debt relief became an issue for many credit card holders, as banks were forced to modify their lending policies in response to new regulations that followed COVID-19.

Coronavirus credit card relief programs

There are many COVID-related credit card relief programs available to you if you find yourself struggling with credit card debt. Our expert debt consultants can help you identify the right program for you and provide information on how you can reduce your credit card debt in 24–36 months.

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on me financially. How do I request help from credit card companies?

If you’re trying to figure out how you can talk to your credit card companies about getting help, you’re not alone. Many consumers are worried about what credit card companies will say when they ask for help, or how the companies may react to a request for assistance in managing an accumulated balance due to a COVID-related hardship. By working with a debt settlement company, you can rely on an expert team to help you get out of debt by paying less than what you owe. 

How Can CreditAssociates Help with Credit Card Debt Relief?

If you want a helping hand to guide you through the process of dealing with your credit card debt, CreditAssociates can help. We offer a free, no-risk debt consultation that can help you start on the path to reducing your credit card debt.

Common Credit Card Debt Relief Questions

Can I negotiate a credit card debt settlement myself?

It is possible to negotiate a settlement with a credit card company yourself. However, we recommend working with a reputable debt settlement company who can get you a bigger reduction on the amount you owe because they have more leverage and experience in negotiating with credit card companies. 

How to get out of credit card debt without paying

Getting out of debt without paying anything is not a realistic option. The next best solution is to pay less than the full amount by negotiating through a debt settlement company. Debt settlement companies could reduce the amount you’re required to pay back by up to half or more.

Are there government credit card debt relief programs?

Credit card debt is one type of debt that the government doesn’t offer relief for. We recommend reaching out to a certified debt consultant to find the best strategy for getting out of debt fast. 

What’s a good debt-to-income ratio (DTI)?

A good debt-to-income ratio is anything less than 36%. This is the typically accepted range that a lender will look for when approving your application.

What’s a good credit score?

Generally, a good credit score is anything above 700. This is the level where a lender considers you to be in good financial shape and will approve your request for credit with lower interest rates. On the other hand, a bad credit score typically falls in the 600 range. In this range, you’ll find it more challenging to get approved for loans, mortgages or other lines of credit.

Are financial institutions willing to work with me during COVID-19?

With hundreds of thousands succumbing to the COVID-19 pandemic, financial institutions are doing their part to help the afflicted. Learn more at fdic.gov.

What if I’m struggling to make payments on my house?

The FHFA has published online resources to help consumers during the housing crisis. Learn more at fhfa.gov

Did the IRS change any of its policies due to COVID-19?

In response to COVID-19, several new provisions offering tax help for families, individuals, and businesses have been passed. Learn more at irs.gov/coronavirus.

What if I was laid off from my job due to COVID-19?

In response to the impacts COVID-19 has had on American workers, the Department of Labor is working to help impacted consumers get access to unemployment benefits throughout the country. Learn more at dol.gov.

Did COVID-19 impact repaying student loans?

The CARES Act has restructured the repayment rules of many American student loans for the better—but many Americans don’t yet know about these changes. Learn more at ed.gov/coronavirus.

How can small businesses get help during COVID-19?

The U.S. Small Business Administration is collaborating with other organizations to provide funding for small businesses by extending loan programs through the CARES Act. Learn more at sba.gov.