Popular Credit Card Debt Relief Strategies

By Simon Volkov

Millions of Americans need credit card debt relief. According to recent financial reports almost 25-percent of U.S. citizens owe credit card companies over $10,000. Debtors that only make minimum payments will never be able to pay off their debt unless drastic measures are enlisted.

One of the most popular credit card debt relief options is debt settlement. However, before entering into this strategy, debtors must take time to conduct research as many debt settlement companies have been investigated for consumer fraud.

Debt settlers negotiate with creditors to reduce principal balances, lower interest rates, or eliminate late fees and penalties. However, creditors are not required to engage in negotiation and debt settlers don’t provide guarantee that balances will be reduced.

Debt settlement can be a costly option. Most companies charge a startup fee and require debtors to pay monthly maintenance fees. These amounts can add up to about the same as written-off debt, so be certain to read the fine print and establish fees before signing a contract.

There is no reason debtors cannot attempt to negotiate debt with credit card companies. The worst that can happen is they will say no. It is advantageous to present an offer of upfront cash and a reasonable payment plan. Creditors are more willing to work with consumers who demonstrate initiative in attempting to clear their debts.


A trusted source for learning about debt settlement practices and available options is ConsumerFed.org.

Another credit card debt relief option is debt consolidation. This strategy requires homeowners to take out a home equity loan using their home as collateral. The interest rate on home equity loans is substantially less than what credit card companies charge.

Refinancing outstanding debt through a home equity loan can save debtors a substantial amount of money. However, there is also substantial risk. If borrowers default on their home equity loan they could place their property at risk for foreclosure.

Homeowners must give careful consideration to this debt relief option. It can be advantageous to consult with a financial planner or credit counseling agency before applying for a home equity loan. When debtors carry high levels of credit card debt they might not qualify for financing.

It is recommended to obtain copies of current credit reports to determine FICO scores. The majority of lenders require credit scores of 720 or higher; solid work history; and solid payment history of the first mortgage loan.

Debtors who owe several thousand dollars to credit card companies often seek relief through personal bankruptcy. This is the most radical debt relief strategy and might not provide the results debtors expect.

In 2005, new bankruptcy laws took effect under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. Prior to BAPCPA it was not uncommon for debtors to rack up massive credit card debt and later file Chapter 7.

In effort to curtail frivolous spending habits and eliminate the potential for debt write-offs, BAPCPA requires debtors to repay a portion of debts by establishing Chapter 13 payments. Bankruptcy payment plans can extend for up to 5 years. During this time, debtors are prohibited from taking out loans or applying for any type of credit.

Personal bankruptcy ruins debtors credit for years to come and does not eliminate their debts. Instead, it is a costly process that allows debtors to reorganize outstanding debt and pay it off over an extended period of time.

Oftentimes, debtors can obtain credit card debt relief by learning how to better manage their money. The only way to eliminate money problems is by developing a solid plan and sticking to it.

About the Author: Discover additional credit card debt relief options from California real estate investor, Simon Volkov. He provides a money management article library covering topics of budgeting, credit counseling, personal bankruptcy, debt consolidation, and debt settlement at SimonVolkov.com.

Source: isnare.com

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