LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)— As the world continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic many Americans are still impacted by credit card debt. Although, there’s federal, state, and government relief the amount might not be able to cover all expenses and ultimately your debt situation could exacerbate.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, debt settlement companies are typically offered by for-profit companies and involve a company negotiating with creditors to allow you to pay a “settlement” to resolve your debt. They say this is an option if debt tends to become worse over time. The FTC says the companies could charge a portion of their full fee for the debt a consumer asks to settle.
WLNS reporter Samana Sheikh spoke with Joseph Gazall, a Financial Advisor from Greene Wealth Management, and Nathan Grant, a senior credit industry analyst at creditcardinsider.com; regarding credit card debt amid a pandemic. Gazall explained various clients he has seen took out extra loans in order to get rid of the previous credit card debt they already owed, which he explained isn’t a smart option.
‘If you consider a loan to pay off credit card debt it’s going to be what’s called an unsecured loan,’ Gazall stated.
unsecured loans are usually given to consumers who don’t have a good credit score. Gazall explained they most likely will not be able to qualify for a large number of funds and if they do the interest rate over time could eventually add-up. However, an option to get rid of debt over time could be beginning a payment schedule for yourself looking at budget, goals, and expenses.
“12 months, 4 months, 48 months and you know look at that payment, what that payment would be in that timeframe and try to stick to that and make a list of the credit card debt, small to largest…focus on the smallest first,” Gazall exclaimed.
Creditcardinsider.com is based in New York and deals with consumers properly building credit and ways they can smartly use their credit cards.
‘Since the pandemic has happened there are a lot of things in place for consumers during this difficult time…The best bet is to call the number on the back of your card and contact your credit card issuer,’ Grant stated.
Grant suggested when a consumer is in a very difficult situation and went in-depth to discuss how minimum payments are calculated, and how debt could impact your personal credit scores.
Grant says interest works differently in each card you utilize. Usually, a consumer can find interest rates in their cardholder agreement. Grant states, commonly you’re going to see what’s called the daily balance method, and so what that does is it basically calculates interest based on your balance individual day in your billing period.
According to creditcardinsider.com, most people turn to the strategies called the debt snowball and the debt avalanche. The avalanche method works by people paying off their debt from highest to lowest rates. Plus the snowball method Grant explained is when consumers decide to pay off their credit card debt from the smallest balance on a card to the largest.
“If you know you can’t pay your balance in full if you contact your credit card issuer,” Grant suggested,” explain the situation, and payment plan to make sure you’re making your monthly payments every month…you can still be juggling the debt you’re trying to pay off but you get a little bit of help and a little bit of guidance on where you can target the most to get caught up.”
“Close off those cards as you pay them off,” Gazall said, “sometimes the debt limit or the card limit is much higher than most people need.”