Credit Card Relief Not Helping You? Try this instead
The coronavirus has had a devastating financial impact on millions of Americans. Those who have had their hours cut or lost their jobs may find it difficult to cover their credit card bills.
Card issuers have offered options such as allowing cardholders to put forbearance payments. The CARES Act also provided protection to consumers whose creditors have offered credit card relief by requiring card issuers to report accounts as up to date to major credit reporting agencies, even though borrowers have payment facilities.
For some borrowers, however, their current payment holiday is ending or their assistance program is not helpful enough. If you are one of the borrowers who found the credit card relief available to you is insufficient, you may want to consider these four options to help you.
- Balance transfer cards
- Debt Consolidation Loans
- Credit Card Difficulty Programs
- Debt management programs
1. Balance transfer credit cards
Balance Transfer Credit Cards offer you the ability to reduce the interest rate – and often the monthly payment – on credit card debt without having to negotiate a deal with your current creditors or potentially damaging your credit rating.
Balance transfer cards offer a low promotional rate – typically 0% – for a limited period of time. You can transfer the credit card balance from one or more existing cards to the new card at the rate of 0%. This could reduce your monthly payment if you’ve significantly reduced your APR or if you’ve transferred balances on multiple cards and now only have one minimum payment instead of multiple.
If you are interested in this type of credit card relief, you can visit an online marketplace like Credible to find the balance transfer card that’s right for you.
2. Debt Consolidation Loans
A personal loan can also be used to consolidate debts, which can have the effect of reducing monthly payments and total repayment costs.
If you qualify for a low interest personal loan, you can use it to pay off one or more credit cards. You will only have to make the new loan payment, which can be much more affordable than several minimum credit card payments. You will also know when the loan will be paid off in full and the total interest charges you will have to pay during the repayment process.
While debt consolidation works like debt management in that you move on to paying off a new loan instead of multiple cards, you won’t have to work with a credit counseling agency – or pay off. one charge – to use this approach. And that shouldn’t damage your credit as long as you pay off your personal loan on time.
To find out if a personal debt consolidation loan is a viable form of credit card relief for you, visit Credible to compare the rates and terms of several lenders to see if you can qualify for an affordable low interest loan.
3. Credit Card Difficulty Programs
Credit Card Difficulty Programs are offered by many card issuers, but not all. They allow borrowers to organize a modified repayment plan when they cannot make their current payments.
If you participate in a credit card hardship program, the specific terms of the payment plan will depend on the agreement with your card issuer. Lenders usually have the discretion to decide whether to approve or deny your entry into a hardship program, and the program may involve a waiver of fees or a temporary reduction in interest rates.
Typically, with a credit card hardship program, you still have to make monthly payments, although they should be smaller. And any change in the terms of your card, such as reducing the interest rate, will only be temporary.
4. Debt management programs
Debt management programs are usually administered by credit counseling agencies and you will usually be charged a fee for participating.
The process involves consolidation of several types of debt So you only have one fixed monthly payment left. The credit counseling agency may also negotiate with your creditors to reduce interest charges, late charges, or over-limit charges as part of your debt management plan. This can sometimes hurt your credit score.
Debt management can be useful if you have a credit card debt you will not be able to repay in a short period of time, while credit card hardship programs are best if you are having short term financial problems, but expect to be able to resume regular payments soon.