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Credit Card Debt: How To Control It

A lot of people spend more money than they can afford to repay toward their credit card debts. To regain control over your finances and to manage your debt, here are some solutions you can try.

CREATE A SPENDING PLAN

In many cases, people design and then stick to a spending plan to get their debt under control. A spending plan is a guide for how much money you have and how much money you spend. Sticking to a realistic spending plan allows you to pay off your debts and save for the proverbial rainy day.

CREDIT COUNSELING

Many universities, military bases, credit unions and housing authorities operate nonprofit financial counseling programs. Even though some may be called non-profit, a fee may be charged for their services.

Creditors may be willing to accept reduced payments if you're working with a reputable program to create a debt repayment plan. When you choose a credit counselor, be sure to ask about fees you will have to pay and what kind of counseling you'll receive.

A credit counseling organization isn't necessarily legitimate just because it says it's nonprofit. You may want to check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints against a counselor or counseling organization. DECLARING

BANKRUPTCY

Bankruptcy is considered as an extreme last resort credit solution. Unlike negative credit information that stays on a credit report for seven years, bankruptcies stay on a credit report for 10 years.

Bankruptcy can make it difficult to rent an apartment, buy a house or a condo, get some types of insurance, get additional credit, and, sometimes, get a job. In some cases, bankruptcy may not be an easily available option.

WHEN TO CONTACT CREDITORS

If you're having trouble paying your bills, contact your creditors immediately. Tell them why it's difficult for you, and try to work out a realistic modified plan that reduces your payments to a more manageable level.

Don't wait until your accounts have been turned over to a debt collector. At this point, it may be too late. Take action immediately and keep a detailed record of your conversations and correspondence.

USE CAUTION WITH DEBT COUNSELING

Turning to a business that offers help in solving debt problems may seem like a reasonable solution when your bills become unmanageable.

Be cautious. Before you do business with any company, check it out with your local consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau in the company's location. One rule to remember is that if a credit repair offer seems too easy or just too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. And knowing your rights can help you steer clear of rip-offs.

As you try to take control of your credit card debt, be on the lookout for advertisements that offer quick fixes. While ads pitch the promise of debt relief, they rarely mention that this relief comes in the form of bankruptcy.

Because bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years and hinders your ability to get credit, it's important to ask for details before agreeing to any debt-relief services.It's a good idea to check the information found in your credit report at least once a year.

Since credit reporting agencies don't share files, you'll need to contact each reporting agency to make sure the information about you is correct. The three major credit reporting agencies are: Equifax (1-800-685-1111); Experian (1-888-397-3742); TransUnion (1-800)-888-4213.

Jamie Madison is the webmaster at http://www.ReviewMyCreditReport.com where you can request a FREE copy of your credit report. Visit today for a copy and keep track of what your credit report says about you.

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