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For advice and guidance relating to credit cards and debt repair visit http://www.consolidatingcreditcarddebts.org/Consolidated-Credit-Counseling.html

Slimming down is always a popular goal for the New Year. If your credit card statements are feeling a bit thick from all of your holiday shopping, it’s time to put your debt on a diet.

It’s not your fault, really. Everyone splurges a bit on the holidays. Credit card companies count on that fact, offering great-sounding seasonal deals that target last-minute shoppers with a tendency to overspend. And once you start carrying a balance on that shiny new card, the card companies start making money from your fees and interest. Here are some quick tips for getting your finances back in shape.

Ask for a Lower Interest Rate

Call your credit card company and let them know that you would appreciate a lower interest rate. If you are a good customer with a history of timely payments, this tactic works very well. Sometimes, you need only ask. Other times, you might have to politely inform your creditor that you’ve been offered a better deal by one of their competitors. Credit card companies are currently feeling the financial squeeze. Due to the mortgage crisis, unemployment, and looming economic woes, they’ve had to write off a record amount of bad debt. They won’t want to lose your business. If your card company knows that you’re investigating other options, they will be more willing to negotiate. If all else fails, go to your bank and request a low-interest personal loan. Use it to pay off your credit cards.

Remember: Always be polite, but firm, when dealing with your credit card company. You catch more flies with honey, as the old saying goes, but don’t be so sweet that you get suckered into signing up for special offers you don’t need.

Cut Other Expenses to Pay Down Your Balance

As any seasoned card holder knows, minimum payments get you nowhere. If you double or triple your minimum monthly payments, you can get rid of your debt at an exponentially faster rate. By sticking with the minimum payments, you stretch your debt out over several years and accrue a ridiculous amount of interest. It’s better to cut other monthly expenses as much as possible to get that debt paid off faster.

If you’re paying off a credit card in preparation for canceling it, ask your card company if you can have a lower interest rate while you pay off your balance. Some companies will accommodate your request, though you will not be able to make further purchases with that card while you repay the debt.

Get a Zero-Interest Balance Transfer Card

Some cards offer an introductory period of 0% interest. These periods vary widely, but most last from three to six months. Some balance transfer cards offer a full year of zero interest. A balance transfer card can be just the thing for card holders with a small or moderate balance that can be paid off within a few months.

As with any credit card, you should do your homework before applying for a balance transfer card. Make sure you understand the card’s terms and conditions, and find out how high your interest rate will be after the introductory period has ended. Pay off your debt as quickly as possible; you don’t want to go back to square one by carrying a balance with a high interest rate.

Avoid Temptation

Credit card companies confess that January is their most active month for marketing. Many overspent post-holiday shoppers are tempted to add to their collection of credit cards. This is exactly what you shouldn’t do. Instead, prune your wallet a bit. Get rid of credit cards that you don’t really need, and avoid applying for others. Review the current terms of any “reward” cards you possess. You might be paying more in fees and interest than you’re redeeming in rewards. And remember that having too many lines of “revolving” credit, such as credit cards, can look bad on your credit report. Demonstrate that you really can control your spending by keeping only the two or three cards you really need.

These strategies won’t be easy, but their benefits are well worth the effort. A little discipline can add up to a lot of savings. Give yourself a pat on the back as you watch your credit card balance slim down over the coming months. You don’t really want to be paying for last Christmas when the next one rolls around, do you? With some smart debt management, you won’t have to.

Choosing the correct money owing repayment plan is not an easy task for that reason enable http://www.consolidatingcreditcarddebts.org/Consolidated-Credit-Counseling.html to help out you decide which options are greatest for you.

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If you’re going to have a credit card there are some great ways to use them which will actually save or make you money. Here are a couple of my favourites.

The first is taking out a card with a 0% rate and use that for your purchases for the amount of time the rate stays at 0%, only paying the minimum required each month. But, and this is the important part for everything you spend on the card put the same amount of money into a high interest savings account and then before the 0% rate runs out on the card you can pay it off in full with the savings and keep the interest you earned on them. A great idea but you need to be diligent about putting the money aside or youll end up paying interest which defeats the object.

Another way is using a cashback card and paying it off in full each month by direct debit. Cashback cards offer a rate, generally around 1%, of what you spend on the card and at the end of a month or year theyll give you the cash worth that percentage of your spend. The idea is that you dont pay them off in full meaning that the card company makes a lot more money from you in interest than its paying you but if you do pay them off in full youll be in profit

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Please this is very important as most people ignore them.

One of the key things when managing the use of your credit card is to know the terms and conditions of what you have agreed to. If you don’t have them, call your credit card provider to attain a copy.

termsnconditions

Before applying for or using your credit card you really should find out a few things about how things work. How long does the interest free period last for? If you don’t know you could find yourself paying 23% APR on your purchases. What transactions are treated as a cash advance? Are there any fees associated with the card? Some card providers charge an annual fee – you may not even know about it.

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Another potential pitfall for a new customer is that the bank will try to sell you repayment protection insurance. This sounds like a good option as it gives you peace of mind if you encounter a problem such as bad health or you lose your job. The main problem with it is that it is far too expensive and is full of get-out clauses. You don’t have to buy your payment protection insurance from the bank! Shopping about will often get you a better deal with vastly superior terms, but always read the small print before agreeing to anything.

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It is a day by day struggle for people to keep one step ahead of debt but are creditors really to blame for a nation on the edge?

A creditor has the power to increase a customer’s credit limit without seeking the permission of the credit card holder beforehand. For those who do not check their credit balance, goods can just seem very easy to purchase. Reality only really sets in when the statement comes through and it is difficult to meet repayments.  Once a debtor starts falling behind with payments, late and missed payment fees are added and the bottomless pit of credit starts to fill up with debt. The credit card company will then start demanding more and more in fees each month.creditcard

Credit card and loan companies often use enticing forms of direct mail to encourage people to borrow. Mock cheques addressed to the individual show just how easy it is to obtain extra cash by simply completing an enclosed form. However, the dangers of borrowing are never revealed in the advertisement and consumers never look further than that piece of paper which is flaunted before their very eyes.

For those of us not too savvy with financial jargon, the terms and conditions of an agreement can be very boring to read. Some creditors take advantage of this by using complicated vocabulary which doesn’t correctly explain what the client is entering into. In many cases, credit is secured on a debtor’s home but this information is cleverly disguised.

Many credit card companies fail to even ask for proof of a debtor’s income. This makes credit even more readily available for those who are rejected by more ethical lenders.

If you have been misled into debt, seek the services of a debt advisor immediately who will help you correct the mistakes that were enforced upon you by unscrupulous lenders.

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By extending the term ‘cash advance’ to include charges for gambling and gift tokens many could face unexpected debt problems if they are unable to recognise when they will be charged for this service.

Some credit card companies have made it harder to control credit card debt by altering their terms and conditions to include cash ‘substitutes’ in their cash advance clause. gambling debts

The interest rates on all standard cards for ordinary purchases will be 16.9% but any purchases which fall into a cash ‘substitute’ will incur interest at 24.9%.

There will be no fee for cash handling and you can take advantage of the interest free period if you pay off the balance in full.gift

Always read the terms and conditions!

NatWest or Mint cardholders should read the new updated terms and conditions which will inform you that any gift vouchers, electronic transfers or gift cards which can be redeemed for goods will be charged at the higher rates.

If you own a Lloyds TSB credit card you should check the small print on the terms and conditions as lotteries and betting (including buying chips at the casino), will be charged at the higher rates. The Lloyds Platinum Mastercard will now charge you 27.9% for these purchases in comparison to 15.9% for ordinary purchases. There will also be a 2.5% fee on the amount of money that you have withdrawn and a minimum charge of £2.50. Do not expect an interest free period as there isn’t one, even if you pay the balance in full.

Some good debt advice…
Avoid these charges by using your debit card or switching to Barclaycard who have resisted the temptation to add on these colossal charges.

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Business people, company directors and the elite are fast becoming the ideal candidates for identity fraud as many unwittingly face debt problems for the first time.

 

Experian Credit Bureau reported that in Q4 2007 they received over 8000 calls to their helpline from those at the wealthier end of the bracket.  The companies most hit by credit card fraud are mail order catalogues and credit and store card issuers.

 

The majority of identity fraud is focused around the more upmarket areas of London and in most cases, victims did not realise that their identity had been stolen until they were approached by a financial service company seeking debt repayment.

 

How do they do it?

 

Individuals likely to become victims of identity fraud are those who splash their cash in fancy restaurants or hotels.  It is easier to retrieve personal information from these companies rather than a bank.  A fraudster can also obtain personal details by redirecting someone’s post to a forwarding address.

 

Phishing is another common way for a fraudster to receive personal account details as emails are sent out which link to fake websites such as online banks, to con people into disclosing their bank account numbers.

 

Identity theft can not only leave the victim to face unprecedented credit card debt but could also put an individual behind bars as some have also been accused of crimes that they never committed with identity thieves using their name and address as a decoy. 

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