This week we helped someone at the charity with over £30,000 of credit card debt who was looking for tips to pay off her credit card debts fast. She recalled, "I can't remember spending the money, but I certainly know it's harder to repay the debt now I have it". It's always more difficult and time consuming to repay debt compared to spending the money at the time.
For some people the debt problem started, unknowingly, at a young age of between 18-21 and the debt issues continued from there. Regardless of how the debt was accrued there are always options to help become debt free once again and live a life without debt.
Credit Card Debt: The Debt Dilemma
When your unsecured debts, like credit cards, store cards and personal loans total more than your available disposable income, what options do you have available? You may not have enough money to pay your monthly bills and your contractual payments to debt, but there are debt solutions designed to help.
You can assess which debt solution could be right for you by completing the debt test and analysing your debt. You'll receive an idea of which debt solution could be the most applicable, but you could have two or three different options, so it's always best to speak to a debt advisor before proceeding with any debt solution.
Tips to Repay Credit Card Debt
There is some helpful advice we can offer to help you manage your credit card debt. Everybody's situation and circumstances are different and unique, so what will be suitable for one person may not for another.
For instance, if you're currently unemployed and unable to make your monthly contractual payments to your debt then it may take longer to become debt free. However, you can take control of your financial future by proactively speaking to your creditors and asking for a period of grace until things improve. Your creditors will likely offer you to make token payments to your debts - this is where you pay a set amount each week / month towards the debt. It won't be the contractual payment, but a more affordable amount. Your creditors could freeze interest and charges in the meantime so the debts don't continue to grow.
Tip 1: Seek advice
There are multiple reasons we advise you to seek advice about debt problems, but the most important one is that it's good to talk to someone else about the financial issues. "A problem shared is a problem halved" is very true!
The other reason is that a debt advisor could guide you through all of your options and help set you on the right path. If nothing else, you'll receive all of your options - along with the positives and negatives - so you can make an informed decision.
Tip 2: Talk to your creditors
Your creditors may be able to offer you some financial assistance to make the process of repaying the debt easier. Your credit card company may be able to offer you a better rate or support you while you try to pay down your debts.
Tip 3: Budget
One of the best tools at our disposal is a budget. It helps demonstrate just how much money is available to pay towards debts each month. Your budget should include all incomes (earned income from employment, pensions, benefits etc) and expenditures (rent/ mortgage, food, gas/ electricity, council tax etc) for each month.
You will then be in a better position to understand how much you can afford to repay towards your debt each month. If your monthly contractual payments to debts are more than you can afford then a debt solution may be required.
If you fail to meet your monthly contractual payments to your debt then a default may be applied to your credit file, which can mean that future credit is more expensive or difficult to obtain.
Don't Struggle Alone
Dealing with debt can be a difficult and frightening experience, but it doesn't have to be. Support and advice is available from our debt charity. Our advisors are friendly and ready to help with confidential advice.
You can call us on 0800 085 0226 between Monday - Friday 8am to 7pm. Alternatively, you can try our online debt test.