As most of us know, credit card debt can quickly get out of hand, if care is not taken to pay off the full amount each month by the due date. This is especially important when you have more than one credit card. The tendency of paying just the minimum amount every month and carrying over the rest can prove to be very expensive. Not only does the outstanding debt continue to rise with every passing month as you keep on purchasing with your credit card but also the application of the really high rates of interest that most credit cards carry makes the due amount swell. According to the American Bankers Association, 43.8% of credit card accounts carry debt forward from one month to the other so you have lots of people in the same dire straits as you. At one point in time, especially when you are revolving credit on each of your cards, the situation is well and truly out of control and it may appear that the mountain of debt will swallow you up. Debt consolidation can be an effective way to solve your debt problems; however, you need to understand what it is, how it works, and the pros and cons.
What Is Debt Consolidation and How Does It Help?
Debt consolidation is a simple concept that envisages finding out the total of the credit card debt and other personal loans and taking on a new loan to wipe all the balances clean. After consolidation, you are left with just one single loan instead of multiple card dues and personal loans. The most obvious benefit is that since you are left with only one loan to service, you no longer have to monitor multiple credit card accounts and remember to make the payments by the due dates so there is automatically far less stress not to speak of no late payment charges and negative hits on the credit score. Another big benefit is that you can escape from the tyranny of exorbitant APRs of credit cards and save substantially on the interest expense as typically, for an applicant with good credit scores, the rate of interest is far lower. You can also make the monthly payment more affordable by extending the repayment period. Some of the most popular ways of consolidating loans are availing of a zero percent credit card balance transfer scheme, a debt consolidation loan preferably from a reputed online lender like https://www.nationaldebtreliefprograms.com/, a home equity loan, or a loan from your 401(k) account. A detailed look at how you can benefit with a zero percent credit card balance transfer offer:
What Is Balance Transfer: Balance transfer is a method of transferring the dues of one credit card to a new one that carries a “zero percent interest rate” offer by the card issuer. These offers are generally given by the card companies to people with good credit scores to promote usage of the card. Since the promotional offer may extend up to 24 months, you can save substantially because usually, credit card APRs are pretty steep.
Advantages: As a method of debt consolidation, there is nothing cheaper, however, you need to keep in mind that the balance should be repaid within the promo period else, the usual interest rates will kick in. Another good thing about balance transfer is that there is no penalty for prepayment so you can use any excess cash that you have to bring down the dues and become debt-free faster.
Alerts: You need to keep in mind that even if you receive a zero-percent balance transfer offer, you cannot transfer the dues of another card issued by the same card company, reported by https://www.forbes.com. Some balance transfer offers come with the condition that you have to pay a processing fee, usually a percentage of the dues being transferred. This fee that can also vary with the length of the interest-free period can take away some of the savings, so you need to do your math and only opt for the balance transfer if the net savings is positive. Remember that even if the interest is zero percent, you still need to pay the minimum amount due every month. Also, some cards require you to pay the dues in full within the offer period else, they can charge you with deferred interest, which is all the interest that you would have normally paid. Read the terms of the offer very carefully, as there could often be a clause that requires all the due payments to be paid before the due dates for the zero percent offer to remain in force.
To take the best advantage of the balance transfer offer, initiate the transfer immediately after you get the offer; some offers come with a 60-day expiry. It can take around 14 days for the balance to be transferred to the new card; however, you need to continue to make any due payments on the existing card as otherwise you can still be slapped on a late payment fee. It may be worth the while not to use the new credit card to make any fresh purchases as you could end up paying a steep APR on them unless the “zero percent offer” also extends to fresh purchases. Also remember that the new card may charge an annual fee, which sometimes is so high that it can wipe off much of your savings on the interest.
A zero percent balance transfer offer can be a wonderful opportunity to consolidate your multiple credit card dues. Not only do you not need to track multiple card statement and remember to pay the dues on time to avoid late payment charges but also you can save significantly on the interest expense. The trick of making balance transfer succeed in getting you out of debt is to keep a strict check on your spending habits and not start using your old credit cards that now have free lines of credit available.