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Credit cards and you - is there a way out?

Millions of individuals and families across the country, including, perhaps, some of our Escondido readers, are struggling with credit debt. It is not uncommon these days, even as there appear to be some faint signs of a potential economic recovery. Looking for a fresh start to a burdensome credit situation can feel like looking for a light switch in dark room. However, one of the most important principles to understand when approaching the issue of credit card debt in particular is the concept of interest.

No matter what the reason was that caused a person's credit card balances to begin to approach the card limit, interest will play a vital role in attempting to get the debt under control. Making the minimum payments is one thing, but doing so can let the interest charged on the overall debt take control. A recent article made a few suggestions about how to take on those interest payments.

Making a payment before a due date or sending in payments more than once per month will help address interest because of the way it is computed. Having a payment automatically withdrawn from a bank account can help as well. Also, in the increasingly competitive lending industry, promotional offers have become more common. Taking advantage of these offers when they become available can make a huge difference in interest payments. A 0 percent promotion could allow a debt holder to shift some debt from a higher interest card, thereby potentially saving hundreds of dollars in interest payments. But, perhaps the most obvious suggestion in the article is this: simply ask for a lower rate. It may seem like the answer will be an automatic no, but as an individual or family's overall credit situation improves it can become a more likely outcome.

There are many different approaches a person can take when saddled with crippling debt. If there does not appear to be a way to repay the debts owed in full, chapter 7 bankruptcy can be the best option in a bad situation.

Source: Business Insider, "6 Ways To Cut Your Credit Card Interest Payments," Jason Steele, Feb. 11, 2013

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