Five Tips for Reducing Credit Card Debt

Five Tips for Reducing Credit Card Debt

Paying off your credit cards and debt is not always easy, but it is definitely worth the trouble. Here are some tips to help you make the process easier and smoother.

If you have owned a credit card in your lifetime, chances are that you have spent more on it than you could pay off once or twice. But many people charge up so much on their credit cards that they find themselves in a mountain of debt in just a short time. Paying off credit card debt for those consumers could take months or even years. If you are one of those people and you want to get out of debt, here are some things you can do to reduce your credit card debt.

Cut Up the Cards
You will never be able to pay off your credit card debt if you continually charge more on them. That’s why you should cut them up and throw them away. If you have the self-discipline, you can keep one in case of emergencies, but only use it for emergencies and nothing else. Start paying cash for everything and you will see how quickly your credit card debt gets reduced.

Pay More than the Minimum
You might think it’s great that you only have to pay $25 each month on a $800 credit card bill. But when you think about it, you could be paying twice or even triple the $800 by only paying the minimum payment due to the interest rates. When you pay the minimum payment and nothing more, you are not putting much money toward the principal. Try to pay at least twice the amount of the minimum payment to reduce your credit card debt faster.

Do Some Negotiations
Do you have late payment penalties and other charges on your credit cards? Do you have a high interest rate? If either of these are true for you, try negotiating with your creditors. Tell them you have having financial troubles and you would like a lower interest rate. Also, ask them if you can get some of the fees waived to lower your balance. They may not do this for you, but it never hurts to ask. In fact, it could save you thousands of dollars in the long run if they are willing to do that for you. Just remember – with so many people defaulting on their credit card payments, they are happy to work with the ones who want to pay their bills.

Stick to a Written Budget
When you make a list of your bills and compare it to your income, you have a better idea of what you can pay towards your bills each month. You should also list your expenses throughout the month and see where you can make cuts. Do you eat at restaurants a lot during the month? Do you have any luxuries that you can cut out? If so, make a few cuts and apply that money toward your credit card bills.

Increase Your Income
This might sound like it is easier said than done, but if you have a hobby or if you can get a second job for a short time, you can make a huge dent in your credit card debt. Even if you are just delivering pizzas a couple nights a week, you can make some extra money to reduce your debt. You will be surprised how fast the debt melts away once you get motivated to pay it off.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.


Using Credit Cards to Raise Financially-Responsible Teens

Using Credit Cards to Raise Financially-Responsible Teens

What is the best way to teach your teen and young adult how to handle money? There are several theories and ideas, but here are some ways to get you started.

Many parents think that the only way to raise a financially-responsible adult is to teach them the dangers of credit cards while they are teenagers. While this may be one method for raising teens who spend their money wisely, many parents want to teach their kids how to use credit wisely as well. The good news is that Congress is now on board and wants to help you teach your teenagers how to be conscious about the money they spend.

One of the new regulations in the new guidelines which go into effect on February 22 is a way to curb the number of teenagers getting a credit card as soon as they turn 18. Anyone under the age of 21 who wants to get a credit card after February 22 will need to have a way to pay their monthly bills. If they do not have an independent source of income, they will need their parent to cosign on the card for them.

This seems like a great idea You probably won’t see any more tables set up on college campuses with people giving away tshirts simply for applying for a credit card. You won’t see unsuspecting freshmen signing their life away for a chance at some “free” money. And the new regulation gives parents a way to teach their young adults about the importance of building a good credit history and spending their money wisely. There are other ways to teach them how to be financially responsible without just letting them sign up for every credit card that comes along.


1. Debit Cards
Many parents give their college-aged kids a debit card to use while they are away at college. The students know they can only spend so much or else they will be responsible for overdraft fees. These days, overdraft fees can be upwards of $35 depending on which bank you use. Kids find out quickly about the dangers of spending more than they can afford.


2. Monitored Credit Cards
One of the best ways to build a credit history is to start young. Some parents start as early as the age of 16 by giving their son or daughter a credit card. One parent – Kathy Stepp of Overland Park, Kansas – gave her daughter a credit card at an early age but she monitors all of her spending and makes her daughter keep a record of what she has charged. However, this approach has its disadvantages, too. For instance, some banks do not allow you to remove someone from the account unless both parties agree to it in writing. You could be responsible for some hefty charges if your teen decides they want to buy a bunch of stuff on your account.


3. The Hybrid Method
This is often the most successful method when teaching your teens about money. It involves making them authorized users on your account so they can begin building a credit history. Tell them they can only use the card for emergencies. Some card companies even allow you to put a cap on spending for authorized users so you do not have to worry about them going overboard. Also, make sure they have a written budget and allow them to open a checking account that you have access to. Lay down some ground rules so they know what is expected of them when it comes to using the card.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.


Tips for Protecting Your Information from Credit Card Hackers

Tips for Protecting Your Information from Credit Card Hackers

Hackers are lurking everywhere trying to get their hands on your credit card and personal information. What can you do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim?

We all have the fear of putting our credit card information online when we want to buy something. Whether we fear it enough to never purchase things online or if it just simply runs through our mind as we type in the number on the secure website, we all think about hackers getting our information. While nothing is 100 percent foolproof, there are some things you can do to help keep your information secure even when buying online.

Use Secure Websites
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people will just enter their private information on any website they visit. You can tell if the website is a secure website if it has an encryption sign, which is usually an icon of a padlock on the bottom right corner of the browser window. If the padlock is “opened,” the website you are on is not secure. However, a closed padlock will encrypt your information as you enter it so hackers will have a more difficult time trying to read it. You should also look for the “s” at the end of the “http” in the website’s address. That extra letter means that the website is secure so you can feel safe entering your information.

Use Zero Liability Cards
Since hackers can sometimes get even encrypted information, using a zero liability credit card is a good idea. With these types of credit cards, you are protected even if you’re the credit card numbers are hacked and used for unauthorized purchases. Most credit cards offer some type of protection like this but some will not hold you liable at all for any unauthorized purchases. Be sure to keep track of your statements so you can look for unauthorized charges and report them as soon as possible.

Never Let Your Credit Card Out of Your Sight
Credit card hacking can take place even when you are buying things at a brick and mortar store. One way hackers get your information is by holding onto your credit card when you make a purchase. The clerk may “forget” to hand you your card back and you may forget about it until after you leave the store. Many of them also have machines near the cash register where they can scan your card and get all the information. If something seems fishy during your transaction, ask to see a manager.

Shred the Paperwork
If you have anything that has your personal information on it, it is best to shred it before throwing it away. Hackers can dig through your trash and find papers with account numbers and other private information. Invest in a cross-shredding machine which will shred the papers both horizontally and vertically. This will make it more difficult for hackers to assemble the “puzzle” that your personal records have become.

Identity theft is running rampant in our society today and credit card hacking is part of that. You could go through years of battles trying to clear your name following an ID theft and still end up with ruined credit. Protect yourself as much as you can so you never have to go through all that trouble.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.