BOSTON (CBS) – There are more than 1.8 billion credit cards currently in circulation in the US. The average consumer is carrying over 3 credit cards. This is big business.
According to Creditcards.com, consumers who normally carry credit card debt month to month have more than $7,000 of debt.
And those with the worst debt don’t know how much debt they have. They have a general idea of the amount but most don’t want to know. If they don’t know maybe, it will go away. If you are serious about getting out debt, you need to know how much debt you actually have.
If you are coupled, you really need to do this together. It will not be successful if only one of you considers the debt a problem.
Make a list of all of your debt. List each credit card and in separate columns list the interest rate and how much you owe on each card. Seeing it written often times is motivation to do something about it.
Get copies of your credit reports and credit scores. Correct any mistakes and begin the process of improving your credit score.
Contact each of the credit card companies and ask them to lower the interest rate on your cards. If the first person you speak with will not lower your rate ask to speak to their supervisor. Tell them you are considering moving the balance to another company.
Take a pledge to stop using your credit cards. No more charges until the debt is paid off. Put away the cards and use cash only. You can do it!
Begin to pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate aggressively. If you have cards with small balances pay those off. If you have a card with a very low interest rate consider transferring your balance from your other cards to that one. Check what the transfer fees will be before transferring.
If you can’t manage it on your own consider using the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.
Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.