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Gift-Giving Get A Little Expensive On The Card This Year? 4 Tips For Working Out Credit Card Debt

It might be tempting to put a lot of your purchases onto your credit cards. They’re an easy way to pay, but an even easier way of getting into debt. Especially if you’ve been splurging with it during this gift-giving season.

The following are some tips that will make it easier for you to stay on top of your credit card payments so that you can worry less and pay off more (and start 2022 with a plan).

Pay On Time

Check when your credit card due date is and plan your spending so that you can always pay before the date. By paying before the due date, you will avoid paying interest or late payment fees which should also keep your credit card score healthy.

When you have so much going on in life (and especially during this busy season), it can be difficult to remember a date. To ensure that you’re always paying on the due date, set a monthly reminder on your phone. This should give you the prompting you might require to stay on top of your payments during a hectic schedule.

Pay Off As Much Of The Money You Owe Every Month

To pay off the debt faster and save money on the interest and late fees, you should pay off the highest amount of money that you can for each repayment. This means paying far more than the minimum amount. However, if you are struggling to pay the minimum amount of the repayments owed, you should contact your bank or credit provider to see if you can renegotiate. Talking to a financial counsellor is a course of action you can take.

Taking critical action earlier rather than later will save you money and prevent your debt from growing and spiralling out of control.

Cutting Back On Your Credit Cards

Having multiple credit cards can get overwhelming. It doesn’t matter if they’re for specific items (e.g bills, groceries, home loans), multiple credit cards may result in you paying a lot more than you actually need to. You should aim to reduce the number of cards in your possession and use one at a time. You may choose to prioritise this reduction by:

  • Which card has the smallest debt – pay off the card with the least debt first and then move on to the next smallest debt.
  • Which card has the highest interest rate – pay off the card that charges the higher interest first, and then proceed to pay off the next highest and the next afterwards.

Regardless of which option you choose, continue to pay minimum amounts for all cards and only continue using one card. Once you pay off each card, remember to cancel it!

Reduce Your Card Limit

The easiest way to avoid the temptation of overspending is by placing a limit on your credit card. You can do this by contacting the branch remotely or visiting in person and it takes at most, 2 business days.

Remember that you don’t have to settle on a bad credit card deal. If you realise that your bank is being unfair, or charging too much compared to other banks, make sure you get in touch with them to try and get the best deal for you.

If you’re someone who often finds it difficult to make large lump sum payments for goods or services, you may want to consider looking into “Buy Now Pay Later” services.

Buy now pay later essentially means that, rather than paying in a full lump sum payment for a product or services rendered, there may be an option to pay through instalments of a certain amount over a set period to make the sum of the full amount in total. This method should allow you to pay in full for the product or service without overly straining your finances – you pay back what you can, as agreed upon when you begin the buy now pay later service.

Some popular buy now pay later services include Afterpay, Zip Pay, Brightepay, and some credit card networks such as  Mastercard and Visa, can offer buy now pay later arrangements.

Though it can be a convenient, immediate solution, it may be challenging to juggle the necessary repayments with other financial commitments. It’s not always the most appropriate method for people, and you should bear in mind your situation and ability in paying back the amounts. 

Before you sign up, keep in mind: 

  • It becomes easier to overspend with buy now pay later services, so know your limits on what you can and can’t afford.
  • You will be charged fees and costs to use the service, which can add up to a princely sum in and of itself.
  • Keeping track of your payments can be tricky if you’ve signed up for multiple services.
  • It could affect your loan applications for a car or mortgage as lenders consider buy now pay later spending just as much as your credit score.
  • Late repayments can appear on your credit report, which affects your ability to borrow money in the future.
  • Layby can be a cheaper alternative to buy now pay later, with no account-keeping or late fees to consider

If you are someone who could make use of BNPL services, you may wish to:

  • Ensure that when using the BNPL service, you stick to a set limit on what you spend so that you can comfortably pay it back later. 
  • Aim only to have one BNPL account at a time to manage payments through, rather than confuse yourself with multiple payments across different providers.
  • Always budget for bills, loan payments and BNPL payments, and 
  • Rather than use your credit card for payments to your BNPL account, consider linking to your debit account instead.

If you would like assistance in planning your financial future, help in managing your budget or some friendly advice, see us for a chat about what we can do for you.

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