When the death of my spouse left me with credit card debt I could not handle on my own, I knew I needed to find a way to fix my credit. I felt overwhelmed and hopeless. After some research and looking in the right direction for help, I realized my situation was not hopeless, and I was able to take some proactive steps to get my life back on track.
Credit cards have become a big part of everyone’s financial picture. If you are one of millions that have found themselves with more credit card debt than you can handle, don’t give up. You did not get into credit card debt over night, and it will take time to get out of debt, but you can succeed and, like me, say, “I was able to fix my credit!”
A huge step in the right direction would be to consolidate all your credit card debt, so you can have one lump sum payment. You will no longer be able to use your credit cards indiscriminately and just make the minimum payments. Now, how do you begin to choose the best option for a credit card debt consolidation? One of the best ways to do this is to take advantage of the help that a counseling service for consumer credit can provide. One of the best things I ever did was contacting a CCCS (Consumer Credit Counseling Service). CCCS can be totally a separate entity in the credit picture, or occasionally they can be an actual part of the company that issued your credit card. They will be able to negotiate in order to establish a payment plan which will often benefit you with lower interest, sometimes a reduction of the balance owed to the credit card companies, and will cost you much less (both monthly and in the long run) to pay off your credit card debt. You can send in one payment to the CCCS or you can distribute payments individually yourself, depending on the agreement you make with the CCCS.
Now, there are many different credit counseling agencies, and not all of them are ethical. It is imperative that you do your research and find an agency that is legitimate before you utilize their services. A good way to do that is to contact the better business bureau in the state in which they operate and in the state in which their home office is located. If there are reports of unethical practices with the BBB, then look elsewhere.
Another alternative would be to work out an agreement with your creditors to pay a reduced balance on all your credit cards, and attempt to get a loan at a lower interest rate to pay off over time. A good option for this is using home equity, savings, or business assets as collateral for the loan. Just be sure you determine beforehand if this will leave negative marks on your credit report, and if you feel you can live with those consequences before you make any decisions, but you just need to work with the CCCS and determine which approach will get you to the point where you too can say, “I was able to fix my credit!”