FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla–As the economy grew at the slowest pace in almost a year, many consumers are worried about their financial situation.
According to the Commerce Department, our gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 1.5 percent from April to June, down from 2.4 percent in the first quarter. The economy needs to grow about 3 percent a year to reduce unemployment rates, according IHS Global Insight, a strategic analyst and forecasting firm.
This harsh economic situation translates into thousands of consumers calling Consolidated Credit to receive financial help. The number of calls the organization receives daily has risen 15 percent since September of last year and counselors now get more than 1,200 calls a day.
In an effort to help consumers solve their financial problems, Consolidated Credit provides answers to the most common credit card debt questions.
My debts are out of control, what should I do?
Paying more than the minimum amount due is crucial. Any amount paid over the minimum goes directly towards the balance owed. This allows debt to be paid off faster reducing overall interest. Pay off high interest rate debt first. Once high-interest debt is paid down, tackle the next highest, and so on. Continue paying the minimum due on all other debts. If this seems unmanageable, a debt management program may be able to help. Overall debt repayments are cut dramatically by lowering interest rates for qualified consumers and they try to lower monthly payments to fit into a person’s budget. It typically takes three to five years to pay off all the debt put into such a program.
How can I lower credit card interest rates?
Consolidated Credit always advises people to call their creditors to ask for an interest rate deduction. If this fails, then they should call credit counseling agencies to see if they can help. Credit counseling agencies have relationships and agreements with creditors to provide consumers with lower interest rates.
Will a debt management program have a negative impact on my credit, and if so, for how many years will this be reflected on my credit report?
Credit counseling usually does not have a negative impact on a credit report. Using a debt management program usually enhances credit reports because all included unsecured debts are being paid on time every month. Some creditors list ‘being paid via credit counseling’ on credit reports.