Credit Card Debt
Special Report: Credit Card Debt
7NEWS has some tips to help you balance your budget.
For many, plastic has become a pain in the budget. Credit card companies are raising interest rates and lowering limits before tough new rules take into effect next year.
An unprecedented number of cardholders are defaulting on their bills.
Just a few years ago, a 3 to 5 percent default rate was considered the norm for a lender. Today that number has more than doubled.
For example, Bank of America's rate of unpaid bills has rocketed to 12.5 percent last month, while American express now faces 10.4 percent default rate.
If you are struggling with credit card debt, you have options.
Your first step is to meet with a non-profit credit counselor.
You can find one at nfcc.org to discuss a payment plan and try to get your interest rates lowered.
However, if you're just not able to handle your payments, know that many card companies are settling accounts for less than the full balance.
So, you may be able to negotiate down what you owe and how and when you pay, but if your lender does accept less than you originally owed, they may ask you to pay the full amount right away and your credit score will take a big hit.
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