Consumers with holiday debt have many options for help

Photo (c) Andrii Yalanskyi - Getty Images

From debt consolidation to credit counseling, there’s assistance for every budget

A trip to the mailbox this month may not be so pleasant since there is a greater chance of finding a big credit card bill from the holidays.

CNBC recently reported that the average U.S. consumer spent $1,249 on the holidays, using credit cards for many of those purchases. With the holiday decorations now put away, consumers have to find ways to pay off that debt, a task made harder by rising inflation.

"If your credit card debt has grown out of control, the key to paying this credit card debt off as quickly as possible in this economy may be to consolidate your debt which can reduce your monthly payments as well as your interest rates," said Gary Herman, president of Consolidated Credit. "Higher prices may be leaving little room in consumers' budgets to pay off credit card debt. So, people need to find a solution to reduce their payments."

Herman’s firm offers a debt consolidation service, which some consumers may find helpful. In fact, there are a number of companies that promote different ways to pay down debt. For example, Sergio, of Mesquite, Texas, worked with JG Wentworth to get his finances on track and credits the help he received in the company’s program with helping him qualify for a credit card.

“I’m really satisfied with the program, and hopefully, I can finish soon,” Sergio wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. “If only they can decrease the bi-weekly payment, depending on my overall balance, because it’s going down. Nonetheless, they have good customer service and they communicate.”

Bess, of Franklin, Tenn., turned to Freedom Debt Relief to get on a plan. She tells us the advisers she worked with were helpful.

“I have had several questions that involve projections and they have the tools to make good advice,” Bess told ConsumerAffairs. “It has been a huge relief to know I am making headway on getting rid of debt.”

Credit counseling

Annette, of Annapolis, Md., worked with Cambridge Credit Counseling, which she says helped her budget her money.

“Anytime I call them about a concern about a bill or a payment, they're very helpful,” Annette wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. “I can keep track of what's been paid and how much my balance is.”

Non-profit credit counselors may provide a low-cost way to get a handle on money. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is made up of non-profit credit counselors around the country. The foundation’s website can help consumers find help in their local area.

Consumers with good credit may also consider applying for a balance transfer credit card that offers a lengthy introductory period of 0% interest. That way the entire monthly payment goes to paying off the balance and none goes to interest.

ConsumerAffairs reviews some of the best credit cards, including the best balance transfer cards.

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