Many people are struggling with bad credit. Unfortunately it doesn’t take much to derail your credit. A few missed or late payments on any credit card or loan can send creditors knocking on your door and a world of stress into your life. If you are in this situation, here’s how to get your credit back on track and eliminate credit card debt as quickly as possible:
Step #1: List all of your credit cards, including your outstanding balance, your interest rate, and the minimum payment percentage and the minimum payment according to your latest statement. Yes, this could be painful and may strike a chord of panic in your chest. Don’t worry. This is the first step to gaining control of your finances and getting your credit back on track.
Step #2: Once you have that list, highlight or circle the credit card with the highest interest rate. This is the card you’re going to attack first.
Step #3: Add up the minimum payments for all of your cards. This means if you have five credit cards, what minimum balances do you owe on each and what is the total of your minimum balances?
Step #4: Create a budget. Yep, this may sound like a scary word, but a budget will tell you exactly what you have to spend each month and how much you have to pay off your credit card balances.
Step #5: Pay the minimum balance on each credit card you have EXCEPT the one with the highest percentage rate. On this card you will pay as much as you can on top of the minimum balance. So if your minimum balance is $125, and you’ve budgeted to pay an extra $100 toward your credit card debt, you’ll make a payment of $225.
Once your balance is paid off from your highest credit card, move on to the next highest credit card percentage rate. Continue the process until your debt is paid off.
Call your credit card companies and see if you can lower the percentage rate. If they will not lower your credit card rate, consider shopping around for a card with a lower rate. If possible, transfer the balances on your high rate cards to cards with a lower rate. Keep in mind that you will likely incur a fee for this transfer. Make sure you cancel the card that you just transferred the balance from. You certainly don’t need the temptation of a card with a zero balance to ruin your progress.
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