June 09, 2006

High credit card debts? Use these tips

According to a recent report released by the American Bankers Association, most Americans are behind on credit card payments. This may not come as news to you, but the fact that the increasingly deplorable debt situation of most Americans is worrisome. According to the report, the months from July through September 2005 saw the number of credit card accounts 30 days past due — or more, reaching its highest levels ever.

Agreed that the times are bad, there is a recession on, and natural disasters have taken their toll and well, things are not as good as they used to be. And worse, another hurricane season is upon us, which means increased premiums on various types of insurances like homeowner’s, health and loans… the list is endless. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, we can do a few things to better our credit standing. One of the most important things to do is take control of our credit card debts. They are the most debilitating and difficult-to-pay-off-debts. But there are things you can do to avoid or wipe out credit card debt:

  • Shop around for the plan that best fits your needs.
  • Even before you accept the card, make sure you understand a plan's terms.
  • Hold on to receipts to reconcile charges when your bill arrives.
  • Protect your cards and account numbers to prevent unauthorized use. Draw a line through blank spaces on charge slips so the amount can't be changed. Tear up carbons.
  • Keep a record — in a safe place separate from your cards — of your account numbers, expiration dates and the phone numbers of each issuer to report a loss quickly.
  • Carry only the cards you think you'll use.

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