Credit Card Debt

The 5 Best Ways to Pay Down Credit Card Debt during COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has compounded the stress of credit card debt for many Americans today.  Consumers have relied more than ever before on their credit cards to cover bills and necessary purchases due to the financial impact related to job losses and shutdowns.  The following methods can prove to be helpful for consumers looking to pay down their credit card debt during the COVID-19 crisis.  

Debt Snowball Method 

One method of paying down credit card debt which many consumers have had success with is known as the debt snowball method. This method works by focusing all payments on the credit card with lowest balance first while paying the minimum payments on all others. Once that card is paid in full, the consumer then focuses on the one with the next lowest balance and so on until all credit cards are paid in full. By taking the smallest balance first, the consumer is likely to see progress towards that paying down his or her first debt. Seeing the actual progress can be motivation to keep paying down all remaining credit cards. This method is not a quick fix, however, although it does work successfully over time.  

Debt Avalanche Method 

The debt avalanche method works similarly to the snowball method. However, this process focuses on the debt with the highest interest rate first. Normally, these debts tend to be the hardest to pay down over time due to the high interest rates. The consumer takes as much money as he or she can handle and puts it towards that one card first. Once that card is paid in full, the card with the next highest interest rate is paid next until all are paid off in full. Like the snowball method, the avalanche payment method does take time and dedication for it to be truly successful. 

Payment via Personal Loan  

Many consumers have had success in paying down their multiple credit cards by consolidating their debt through a personal loanIf a consumer has multiple credit cards with high interest rates, using a personal loan to pay off all these outstanding balances can be one way of successfully consolidating multiple monthly payments into one. Personal loan interest rates tend to be lower than credit card interest rates and having one payment makes the process easier to handle in terms of budgeting. 

Balance Transfer Credit Card 

Another method of paying down multiple credit cards is to transfer balances to one credit card. Many credit companies will offer balance transfer cards with a zero percent APR for a set period of time, allowing the consumer to pay down the balance without incurring interest every month. However, it is imperative that the consumer pay the card down in full before the promotional period expires. Otherwise, the interest rates could end up being as bad as the ones before, making the process even more difficult.  

Credit Counseling and Alternative Methods 

Many times, it is a matter of needing help in organizing oneself and analyzing the situation. If a consumer is struggling to pay down his or her credit cards, working with the card issuer can be a good first step. The consumer may qualify for credit card hardship relief, especially if the person is financially struggling as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, the cardholder may be willing to work with the consumer on reducing the interest rates, waiving fees, or temporarily lowering the minimum monthly payment. It may be worth contacting a non-profit credit counseling bureau, so long as the consumer researches the agency first to ensure it is credible before working with them. A professional may be able to advise how to best handle the situation from an unbiased point of view. If the situation is impossible and the consumer still is not able to continue paying on his or her debts, it may then be advisable to consult a bankruptcy attorney.  

Please click here to read more.  

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.   

Credit Card Debt

What to Do After Paying Off Your Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is a source of stress for many consumers. Once a large balance is accrued, the high interest rates can make credit cards nearly impossible to pay off.  Whether you have been able to pay off your credit card debt or have had the debt discharged in bankruptcy, it is important to modify your financial behavior moving forward.   

Monitor Your Credit Score 

Consumers should monitor their credit reports on an annual basis to ensure that there are no inaccuracies. Once a credit card is paid off in full, that should reflect on the person’s credit report. Additionally, paying down a large sum of debt will have a positive effect on the consumer’s credit score. As the person’s credit score goes up, his or her chances of being approved for financing in the future also improves. After paying off debt, the consumer should check his or her credit report to ensure that this payment is reflected on his or her score. To make sure that the consumer’s credit score improves, periodic monitoring of his or her credit report should also occur.  

Credit Card Debt, Debt Collection

Debt Does Expire- Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Wait for the Clock to Run Out

At some point, consumer debt is so old that it is no longer legally collectible. At this point, the debt is said to be past the statute of limitations, meaning no creditor or debt collector can take the consumer to court to collect on the debt. However, even though creditors cannot collect on debt past a certain time period, it does not mean this is the best strategy for consumers to seek in cancellation of this debt.  

Every state has a set of laws that govern how long a party has to pursue a legal cause of action. After the timeline has passed, the individual can no longer file a lawsuit. For debt collection, the statute of limitation hinges on the type of debt. In Florida, the statute of limitations for debts involving written contracts, such as personal loans, is five years. The statute of limitations is four years for debts that stem from oral contracts or revolving accounts, the most common of these being credit card debt. After that point, the creditor is not able to legally collect on the debt. 

Coronavirus, COVID-19, Credit Card Debt

How the Pandemic is Changing Americans’ Credit Card Habits

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the way of life for consumers in both good and bad ways. One change has to do with the way Americans utilize their credit cards post-pandemic. 

A recent study conducted by Money and Morning Consult surveyed how American consumers have been using their credit cards during this crisis. What the study found was Americans are continuing to use their cards. However, the way by which they are using their cards has changed.  

Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief

Average American Consumer Carries over $90,000 in Debt

Most American consumers carry some form of debt. In fact, debt has become a way of life for many Americans. Whenever a big purchase needs to be made, consumers will often apply for financing to pay for this purchase. This can include items like a home, car, furniture, or even for basic purchases.  

According to data from the credit agency, Experian, as of 2019, the average American consumer has $90,460 in debt from various sources, including mortgages, student loan debt, personal loans and credit cards. Escaping this debt load can be tricky, and Experian’s data shows that certain generations struggle more than others when handling consumer debt. 

Credit Card Debt

How to Negotiate Your Credit Card Debt

When someone owes a large amount of money on credit cards, the possibility of ever paying down that balance can seem impossible. Simply making the minimum monthly payments can be a struggle, as well, especially during the current pandemic. However, credit card companies would rather work with the consumer directly in lieu of the account going into default, forcing them to pursue a collection on the amount owed. It is possible to negotiate directly with the credit card company on the amount owed in certain circumstances.  

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, certain credit card companies are working with consumers who are behind on payment. This assistance is temporary in nature but can include pausing payments, reducing interest rates, waving late fees, and putting a pause on interest charges.  

Credit Card Debt

What Happens to Credit Card Debt When a Person Dies?

After an individual dies, one of the big questions that comes up from those handling the estate of the deceased is what happens to that person’s debt? These debts can include medical bills, taxes, and credit card debt. One of the main concerns brought up by clients is whether they will be personally responsible for the credit card debt of their deceased relative. The good news is only the estate will be responsible for any outstanding debt and not the family of the deceased.

Whether the person has a will or no will, his or her estate will need to be processed through probate court. If the deceased had a will, he or she will have named a personal representative who will handle the estate, and if the person has no will, the court will appoint someone to administer the estate.

Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief, Medical Debt, student loan debt

Tips for Managing Student Loans, Medical Debt, Credit Cards and More

DMP - Debt Management Plan acronym, business concept background

Consumer debt encompasses several different categories. However, many people often struggle with the same few categories, mainly student loans, medical debt, and credit card debt. It helps to know how to attack the debt individually in each category if a consumer is looking to pay down their various debts.

Student Loan Debt

If you are struggling with student loan debt, you’re not alone. In fact, it has been reported that Americans carry over $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. This figure amounts to an average individual load of $32,731 per student. If the consumer proceeds towards a master’s degree or professional degree following graduation from undergraduate studies, that amount can get into six figures. Paying down that debt can be a struggle for many, especially during recent times. Currently, the federal government has issued a forbearance on all federal student loan debt during the COVID-19 crisis, which has been extended past September 30.

Credit Card Debt

4 Cost Effective Ways to Pay Down Credit Card Debt

Paying down credit card debt can seem like a never-ending struggle.  As bankruptcy attorneys, we see credit card debt as one of the most common problems facing those with serious financial challenges.  It is not surprising with the high interest rates, unreasonable fees and penalties, and never-ending minimum payments that do not seem to make a dent in the total balance.

According to data from the New York Federal Reserve, the total national credit card debt being carried has hit $14.3 trillion, which represents a 1.1 percent increase from the previous quarter. One of the biggest problems’ consumers face when it comes to credit card debt is paying down a large balance or balances once they are incurred. However, certain tactics have been proven to be successful when it comes to paying off credit card debt.

Credit Card Debt

The Most Common Credit Card Fees and How to Avoid Them

Most Americans have at least one credit card, if not more, that they use on a regular basis. These credit cards can be useful when paying for monthly expenditures, so long as the balances are kept to a minimum and paid in full. Additionally, most credit cards come with fees that make it nearly impossible to pay the card down if the balance becomes too high. According to a 2019 Consumer Reports study, one-third of American credit card consumers say that they struggle with the fees that came along with their credit cards. It is important that consumers be aware of these fees and take steps necessary to avoid them if possible.

Read the Fine Print

One of the best ways to determine what fees come with a credit card is to carefully review the fine print that comes with the consumer’s credit card contract. If any fees will be charged to the card, this information will be found in that fine print.