The Top 5 Ways to Eliminate Credit Card Debt

By: Scott Russell

Credit card debt is a growing problem, especially with current falling housing prices, declining savings rates, and stagnant incomes. But there are ways to get out of debt and free yourself from the burden of large credit card balances.

By paying off your credit cards, you'll be shocked at just how much money you will save. Between the interest, fees, and late charges, credit cards can suck up all your disposable income.

So make a commitment to paying off your credit card debt as soon as possible. To help you get started, I've put together this list of the top 5 ways you can eliminate credit card debt.

1. Stop charging and reduce credit card debt!

This might sound simple, but it's amazing how many people just can't seem to get themselves to put away their credit cards. Force yourself to do so. If you can't pay for it in cash (or with your debit card), then don't buy it. Period. Once you stop digging yourself in deeper, you can finally start to get out of that hole once and for all and begin the process of credit card debt elimination.

2. Get your current credit card interest rate reduced

Once you have stopped adding to your debt, the next step is to get lower interest rates. Did you know that most credit card companies will put increase your interest rate by as much as 100% if you so much as make one late payment? Even if payment is just one day late, the banks will often drastically raise your interest rate. The really silly part is that these companies rarely report you to credit bureaus unless you are a full 60 days late with a payment. So while they might have raised your interest rate, your credit score could well remain unscathed.

You can easily work this situation to your advantage. If you find that your bank has raised your interest rate, call or write them, telling them you have another bank that is willing to give you a much lower rate - after all, you still have a good credit rating. See if they call your bluff - odds are, they won't, because they know there are many lower rates available. This is a great way to save big bucks in interest each and every month without even opening up a new credit card.

3. Apply for New Credit Cards

Of course, if your bank won't deal with you, search for another bank offering lower interest credit cards, and open an account with them. Remember, unless you've been over 60 days late with a payment, your credit report might well have no marks on it from your old cards. Furthermore, even if you have a less than stellar credit score, there's a very good chance you can still find a lower rate than you currently have.

4. Utilize interest-free trials

When looking for a new credit card, find one with an interest-free trail period. Some offer a year or more with no interest on balance transfers and new purchases. If your new card offers the latter, use it to make those new purchases - but make sure you put away money to pay off the balance before the trail period is up, and use any money you save on interest to pay off your pre-existing credit card debt.

5. Combine your credit card debts

Use balance transfers to move money from high-interest accounts to a new credit card with the zero-interest trial period. But make sure you check out how much the interest rate will be on the new card once the zero-interest trial period is up. Finally, always make sure you use any money you save on interest payments to pay down and eventually pay off your credit card debt. Do this religiously, and you'll be well on your way to a debt free life!

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