Read these 12 Common Credit Problems Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Credit Report tips and hundreds of other topics.
Are your credit card interest rates too high? Shop around for a better rate today.
There are a lot of low-rate cards out there, so you should be able to get a lower rate than what you're currently paying.
Here are practices to follow when managing credit card debt to avoid credit card problems:
* Be punctual. Low rates often are only effective if you make monthly payments on time. Miss a due date and the rate may shoot up and stay there, creating credit card problems.
* Check to make sure there is no minimum purchase requirement to keep interest rates low. Otherwise, you may quickly accrue long-term credit card debt.
* Read the fine print. Always make sure you understand everything about an agreement before you sign on the dotted line. If you need debt advice, seek credit card help.
While it's tempting to apply for and accept more credit cards, especially if you have good credit, excessive amounts of credit cards are not always a wise option. Amassing more credit cards can lead to credit card problems and long-term credit card debt that is hard to dig out of without credit card help. Consumers who routinely use credit cards and have good credit often get offers to add more credit cards. The offers may seem attractive with initial low-interest rates. The idea of multiple credit cards also can be appealing – one for holiday bills, one for vacations, etc. Beware of credit-card problems when adding more cards. First, each card requires a minimum payment, and more if you actually want to pay it off. This can add up quickly, increasing your long-term credit card debt. Second, too many credit cards can hurt your credit rating, lowering your credit score and limiting your credit options in the future. If you think you have too many credit cards, seek credit card help from a debt counselor.
Credit card companies are eager to market to students, who often need money and may not know to seek credit card help.
But the explosion of credit cards aimed at students is creating long-term credit card debt and credit card problems for young people.
Students often lack the expertise to know how to manage credit card problems.
They need credit card help before they incur long-term credit card debt that can plague them for years to come.
Students need to understand how to avoid credit card problems and long-term credit card debt.
Credit card help is the first step. Counseling helps students learn when to use -- and not use -- their credit cards.
Credit card help teaches new credit card holders that credit cards are not free money.
Credit card help will show students how to avoid long-term credit card debt, as they embark on their careers.
Finding the best credit card help means avoiding problems and pitfalls that can lead to deeper credit card problems. Consumers with credit card problems need credit card help from someone they can trust. Here are some pitfalls to avoid and services to ask for when seeking debt advice to lower your payments.
* Beware of upfront fees before any service has been provided for fixing your credit card problems.
* Ask about strategies you can do on your own for solving credit card problems and long-term credit card debt.
* Find out how to access your credit report from the credit bureaus.
* When seeking credit card help, ask a counselor for advice on accessing your credit report to get your credit scores.
* Never accept an offer to create a “new” credit identity to avoid credit problems and long-term credit card debt. It is illegal.
* Avoid agencies that advise you to disupte all information in your credit report.
Finally, if a debt counselor's solution seems too good to be true, it probably is. A reputable agency offering credit card help will be your partner in devising new strategies for credit card problems.
Making a credit card payment may seem like just another routine part of life for most people, but when you can't make your payments on time it can really harm your credit. If you need to do something to get your financial life back in order, consider credit card consolidation. This involves either putting all of your credit card debt over onto one card, thus requiring you to make only one credit card payment, or getting a credit card consolidation loan from a company that can help you get out from under each credit card payment and only make one loan payment each month.
That money is then spread out amongst your credit cards, so that each credit card payment is made on time. This helps you get control of your finances, but it also helps build up and improve your credit score. When you find that you're going to be late with a credit card payment, call the company that issued the card right away and talk to them about it. They may be willing to waive fees and increased interest rates if you're upfront with them about your financial problems. If payments are consistently late, a credit card consolidation may be just the thing you need to start repairing your credit.
You will get a low credit score if you have a bad credit rating. Employers, loan officials, and rental offices look at a bad credit rating as a red flag. If you have a bad credit rating it can be very hard to get a loan, rent an apartment, or get a job that works with money. Many people have a low credit score because they have not paid their bills on time. It is essential to make sure that every bill is paid in full when it is due. Making sure that you're able to afford something before you purchase it is important. Once you have a bad credit rating it can be very difficult to improve it. All of the dings against your credit score will need to be paid before you can even hope to build your credit back up. A low credit score will raise as your bills are paid. Once everything is paid off you will be able to start to get credit cards or loans with higher interest rates. If you can pay them on time, in full for a few years you will be able to see your credit rating raise exponentially. Once your bad credit rating is raised you will be able to get credit with a lower interest rate.
College students and young adults, starting out or planning careers, want to avoid credit problems and long-term debt.
But with pitches by companies to add new credit cards, it's hard to know which credit cards to choose and when to say, "No."
Here are common mistakes new credit card holders make that turn credit convenience into credit card problems:
* Allowing a need for status to overrule common sense. You know that leather jacket you want? Or plasma TV? Avoid impulse purchases, if you cannot afford them without creating long-term credit card debt.
* Collecting “status” credit cards with higher limits, a cool look, or marquee names. Getting a status credit card may give consumers a sense of status. But these cards often have higher annual fees or interest rates that can deepen your credit card problems.
* Charging to your credit limit. Some of these cards offer limits of $10,000, $20,000 and $30,000 for existing credit card holders. Spending to your limit will create credit card problems and long-term credit card debt.
* Not knowing your interest rates and late fees. This is the easiest way to rack unexpected big bills and big credit card problems. This can happen to new credit card holders as well as consumers who've held long-term credit card debt on the same card.
Loans can offer relief from credit problems and help consumers manager long-term credit card debt. There are low-interest loans available that enable consumers to ease credit card problems by getting rid of long-term credit card debt and high-interest rates. One option for credit problems is a debt consolidation loan, available from most banks and other lenders at rates lower than credit card rates. These loans usually have fixed rates and payment plans. Seek credit card help from a counselor or agency for more information. A second common option, available to home owners, is a home equity loan or line. Both typically offer lower interest rates than credit cards. Homeowners can use home equity as collateral to pay off long-term credit card debt. Home equity lines are generally done with the same type of revolving credit as credit cards. But be very careful about acessing your home equity. These types of loans are tied to your home and if you are not able to repay them it could lead to foreclosure. Consumers should also ask for credit card help in managing their debts, even after receiving a loan. Consumers who do not learn strategies for keeping debts down may be prone to make new charges on their credit cards after paying off their old debt with a loan. This practice will only worsen card problems.
If you are having trouble paying your monthly credit card bills, or if you're juggling creditors and receiving phone calls demanding payment, you likely have credit card problems. It is time to seek credit counseling help from an agency specializing in debt counseling and easing credit-card problems. Choose wisely. Hundreds of agencies specialize in credit card help for consumers with credit problems and long-term credit card debt. The best course is to find an agency with solid experience in credit-card help, and to avoid agencies without a proven track record that may offer bad advice. When meeting with a counselor specializing in credit card help, make sure you understand fees for services. Look for an agency that's going to help you lower interest rates for long-term credit card debt. The credit card help counselor should offer a strategy for paying off debt and ending your credit problems. Credit card help often involves consolidating your debt into a single, lower-rate payment with fixed terms.
How should you deal with serious credit problems? Even if you cut up your credit cards as a first step, you still face monthly payments and long-term credit card debt. Credit card problems can ruin your chances of buying a new home or financing future purchases. Credit card problems also saddle consumers with long-term credit card debt that seems impossible to overcome. But there is credit card help. Credit counseling professionals can show you how to manage your debt, help you set up a reasonable credit card payment plan, and even find ways to consolidate long-term credit card debt into affordable monthly payments.
The easiest way to avoid a credit problem is to stay out of credit debt, or manage your credit card debt carefully. But in today's world of long-term credit debt and high-interest credit cards, avoiding credit problems is easier said than done. More and more Americans are living with long-term credit card debt, and are closer to having credit problems than they may think. A family illness or job loss could easily wipe out paychecks and savings, leading to major credit card problems and long-term credit card debt. So how do you know when your credit card use is a credit problem? Read the questions to find out if you have a lurking credit problem, and need to seek credit card debt help. A "yes" answer to any one question may indicate you are headed for credit problems, and should consider credit card debt help. A "yes" answer to more than one question suggests you have credit problems and need immediate credit card debt help.
* Do monthly charges exceed your ability to make monthly payments?
* Do you pay off one creditor by borrowing from another?
* Do you use credit cards to pay monthly bills?
* Are you taking cash advances from credit lines or credit cards for everyday expenses?
* Do you get phone calls and notices from creditors demanding payments on late bills?
Not happy with your credit card rates and fees? Ask your credit card company to lower your rates and give you a better deal.
It costs credit card companies to gain and keep customers, even customers with credit card problems.
Study the offers from other credit card companies, then call your credit card company and ask a representative to beat or match the lower rates.
Finally, get credit card help from a reputable debt counselor or agency, when you have long-term credit card debt and need help finding lower interest rates.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|