Debt can be scary, overwhelming, and isolating. When all you can afford is the minimum payment on a high-interest-rate credit card, it’s too easy to believe that you will never get out of the red.
Where can you turn for debt help? Here’s a debt elimination tip that you shouldn’t overlook: The answer might be the creditors themselves. They have the same goal in mind — helping you find the best and quickest strategies to pay down your debt.
You need to pay them as soon as possible, and they want to get paid. Consider these three strategies for working with your creditors:
1. Get a debt consolidation loan.
Consolidating your debts means rolling up your credit card bills and loans into one monthly payment with a lower interest rate. You get one lump sum upfront to pay off your debt, and then your monthly payment goes toward paying off just your new loan. It’s easier to keep track of a single payment, and you’ll save money on interest.
2. Transfer your balance.
Transferring your credit card balance to a new card with a lower overall interest rate and a favorable introductory period — think 0 percent APR for the first few months — is another way to save.
Once you transfer your balance, you’ll only be dealing with the principal, so your debt will decrease a lot faster. Figure out how much more you could pay off each month with this calculator.
3. Negotiate with your credit card company.
Sometimes good old-fashioned conversation can take you a long way when trying to pay down debts.
It never hurts to call and ask if a creditor can move your payment date, reduce your interest rate, or offer you a temporary payment reduction.
The best time to use this debt-elimination strategy is when you’ve been consistent with your payments for several months. It shows that you’re a responsible client who just needs some short-term help. Remember, they want to keep you as a customer, and a little favor can go a long way in maintaining their relationship with you.
A debt scam to avoid
No matter which strategy you choose, do your research to make sure you pick the best fit for your personal financial and lifestyle needs.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice, but make sure to avoid scams. One common scam that can hurt your credit score is debt settlement.
Debt-settlement companies provide false hope of some quick relief, but their approach often ends up damaging your credit score in the long run.
Along with the debt-settlement fees, going this route can take years and should only be used as a last attempt to avoid bankruptcy (and possibly not even then). Look to another debt elimination tip instead.
The bottom line
Although at first glance they seem an unlikely source of relief, your creditors can be a valuable resource when you are tackling debt.
Be proactive about your situation and get motivated to live a life after debt!
This article is provided by NAIFA educational partner EveryIncome.