I’ve received a lot of questions recently related to credit card debt … What is the best strategy to repay it – loan consolidation? Balance transfer? Other? Obviously there are a lot of individual questions and factors involved in the decision. There are times when any of these options may be advisable. A few questions I would ask before proceeding:
- Is the reason I’m in debt behavioral (i.e., spending problem)? If so, I should address this problem before proceeding with anything else.
- What are the costs/fees associated with this decision?
- Is the interest rate offered temporary or permanent?
- How am I with making payments on time? [Most cards will bump your rate with one missed payment – even if it is a payment missed on another debt].
- Do I have good credit? If so, I should be able to find an alternative with a ‘respectable’ rate and cost …
An interesting tool I came across recently helps you compare offers from other credit cards to assist you in determining whether a different card or a balance transfer special would result in financial savings to you. This credit card “savings agent” gathers some basic information regarding your situation: what is your current card, how much do you owe, annual fee [if any], interest rate, whether or not you currently use the card, what you pay monthly on the card, if you know what your credit score is, and whether or not you’ve declared bankruptcy. From these questions, the tool examines about 200 different credit card offers and will rank the ten that will save you the most money (based upon its current ‘offer’ – includes any balance transfer fees, transfer rate or intro rate, etc.) … Looks like it could be helpful if you find yourself in credit card debt and are trying to find a viable financial alternative. The tool is free and doesn’t require any personal information [by personal, I am referring to your name, address, phone, e-mail, etc. – obviously it requires “personal information” such as how much you owe, etc.]. The site is located at: http://www.creditcardclients.com/savings-agent.
*FYI – The Financial Tip of the Week blog will join me on vacation until mid-August.