I'm Buried In Credit Card Debt! - Part 2
Balance TransfersYou might now be thinking, "Hey, I'll just transfer the balance on my card with the highest interest rate to another one with lower interest. Sorted!" Proceed with caution!
This move can be a good one, saving you oodles of cash each year, but there's always a catch with anything that looks like a "get-out-of-jail-free” move. So what's the catch here? Any introductory promotional interest rates typically last for only 12 to 18 months. Transferring more than you can realistically pay off in that timeframe could land you with an interest rate that suddenly skyrockets at the end of the introductory period. It could go far higher than your old rate at the end of the introductory period. Even if the balance you plan to move over can be paid off within that time limit, you're still going to get hit with a fee known as a balance-transfer charge -- which is normally 3% to 4% of the amount you transferred.
Another point to note is that the low-interest rate on this introductory period may only apply to the balance transfer, not to any purchases made on it. It's best to avoid using the new card for anything other than your get-out-of-debt plan.
Peer-to-Peer LenderOf course, the best scenario would be you having the ability to fully pay off all your credit cards and be completely free of debt. But if that's not a realistic option, you might want to consider borrowing the money you need to wipe out your debt from what's known as a peer-to-peer lender.
These types of lenders offer loans with interest rates that are regularly 20% to 30% lower than normal! What's more, the interest rates charged are fixed. Think of the hundreds of dollars you could save. They're not freebies, though. You will be required to have a job and a good credit score to qualify. As mentioned above, you'll never know unless you ask, and these lenders may even offer loans up to $25,000.
Some secure peer-to-peer websites worth checking out are LendingClub and Prosper.
Still Strapped for Cash?If you're still on a tight budget, another option is to make your minimum payments twice per month. Interest is typically charged daily, so the sooner you make your payments, the faster you'll reduce the average daily balance, meaning you'll pay less on interest in the end. So pay that monthly minimum followed by the same payment about two weeks later.
Keep racking up these payments, and you'll not only save dollars on interest, but you'll also even manage to pay the card off completely.
Final TipOrganize a calendar and plot all the important dates and information about your payments. It can get hard to keep track of these things over time, so create some reminders. Now it's up to you. Take charge and climb out of that debt sinkhole!