Minimum Credit Card Payments to Rise
Clearly, it is not in the best interests of consumers to pay the minimum every month. But tens of thousands of Americans do just that, carrying huge balances and paying the minimum every month. The average household now carries $10,000 in credit card debt; for many people, paying the minimum is all they can manage. Due to changes in Federal law, several major credit card issuing banks will soon raise the minimum amount due to 4%. This might seem like a small increase, but if you are already deep in debt and paying the minimum amount, this could cause your payments to double. If you have a $10,000 balance and you are paying $200 per month, you will soon need to come up with $400 instead. Many people will find this impossible to do, as they are already paying as much as they can. What solutions are available?
The usual common sense rules of credit card use apply here. Stop using your credit cards. See if you can consolidate your debt on another credit card with lower interest. See if you can cut out some unnecessary expenses in order to free up some more money to pay your balance. Consider a home equity loan to consolidate your debt. Call your card issuing bank and see if they can work out repayment plan or lower your interest rate. There are numerous solutions available, but card holders need to be aware that the minimum payment is rising, and it isn't going to come back down. By charging a 4% minimum, the credit card issuing banks are hoping that consumers will pay off their debt a bit sooner and that fewer consumers will find themselves in a situation where filing for bankruptcy is the only solution. And once October comes around, even filing for bankruptcy will be more difficult. Credit card holders with large balances on their accounts should give considerable thought to reducing their debt now, as payment options and requirements are going to be more strict from now on.
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