In the middle of this economic crisis not only the country is experiencing now, more and more consumers are struggling to make ends meet. Lots of individuals has unexpectedly lost their jobs while others are finding it difficult to look for a job due to lack of available employment. In addition to this, owning a credit card becomes a burden as well due to increased interest rates and fees imposed by card issuers.
And although there had been changes made in the Credit CARD law which were meant to protect consumers from bad debt, cardholders must still face the fact that there is still no cap limit on credit cards with variable rates. As a credit card holder who has been struggling to free yourself from debt, are there ways to avoid bankruptcy? Given the situation, how can you protect yourself from financial disaster?
Review your personal credit history.
Annualcreditreport.com offers all consumers the privilege to get one free credit report each year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion). Request for a copy of your personal credit file and check it thoroughly. Verify all the payments you have made.
If there are charges that you know have been paid yet still appear as unpaid in your report, you must take action to correct such errors right away. Keep in mind that even the slightest error or incorrect information found in your report can significantly lower your final credit score. Send a letter of dispute to the credit bureau and request for corrections.
Review your credit card’s terms and conditions.
Has your interest rate increased or are there unexplained charges in your bill? If yes, never hesitate to call your bank’s supervisor and clear the changes made in your term. If you know that you have been a good customer, then request your credit card issuer to bring back the rates or terms that you originally signed up for.
Some consumers may think that making such a request is not possible. Granted, some credit card companies may insist on keeping their own terms. However, keep in mind that your issuer will not volunteer to lower your rate or waive your fees unless you try to make the request. In any case, it is always worth the effort to try especially if you have been a long time customer and a good payer.
Negotiate your debts.
If you can’t keep up with all your monthly payments, hiding from your credit card provider is the worst and inappropriate thing to do. The most sensible action to take is to speak with a supervisor of your bank and explain your present financial situation. Why are you not able to make payments on time?
Ask you issuer if they can adjust the deadline of your payment and if the late penalty can be waived. If you have a valid reason for not submitting payment on time, then your creditor will most likely to consider your request. If your bank agrees with your pleas, do your best to submit your payment on the date you promised.
Seek professional help.
If speaking with your credit card company does not give you relief with your credit card debt, seek help from a legitimate credit counseling agency. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers debt relief advice for consumers in need.