Credit card consolidation - is it right for you? If you're carrying a high interest rate across multiple cards, you may benefit from such services. With more and more Americans facing large medical bills, job loss, and other financial setbacks, credit card debt is higher than ever. And, with interest rates and late fees, it's not unusual for people to get in over their heads. Credit card consolidation helps consumers to better manage their debt and get back on solid financial footing once more.
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If your debt feels overwhelming, it may be valuable to seek out the services of a reputable credit counseling service. Many are non-profit and charge small or no fees for their services. You can review more information on selecting the right reputable credit counselor for you from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Credit counselors can help you develop a Debt Management Plan (or DMP) and can negotiate to reduce your monthly payments. In many cases, you'll be responsible for only one monthly payment to the credit counseling service, which will then disburse funds to all of the accounts you owe on.
When considering the fees, it’s important to weigh what you’re getting in return. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), credit repair firms can’t legally do anything for you that you can’t do for yourself. You just have to be willing to spend the time reviewing your credit reports for negative or inaccurate information, reaching out to the credit bureaus to dispute that information, and following up on those disputes to make sure they’re being investigated.
Reducing your balances on credit cards and other revolving credit accounts is likely the better option to improve your credit utilization rate, and, subsequently, your credit scores. Consistently making on-time payments against your debt will also help you build a positive credit history, which can have additional benefits for your credit history and, by extension, your credit scores, too.