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Availing Yourself of Credit Card Debt Relief Programs

Aug 13, 2008
As interest rates and personal debt rise, credit card debt relief options have become quite relevant for many Americans and even for other people of the world. After all, with the global credit economy, getting saddled in credit card debt seems to cut across cultures. For American families in particular, choosing the right credit card debt relief is crucial as there are literally thousands of companies offering assistance in various forms for unsecured debt but only a handful are actually legitimate entities.

Credit card debt relief should reduce the strain on the debtor's finances. This may involve lowering of interest, lessening of charges or some other concession that would alleviate the debtor's situation. However, many of these commercial credit card debt relief offerings are just as damaging as debt itself. Judicious scrutiny is required before availing of such credit card debt relief services.

The following are some of the different types of credit card debt relief available for debtors. While the marketing scheme for these credit card debt relief services tends to throw a curve ball at the average reader with regards to making a valid choice, the truth is it would all depend upon the particular situation of the debtor. Read on to know about the differences of credit card debt relief programs before availing any of them.

Credit Counselling

Credit Counselling should be the first option for debtors. Its aim is to provide credit card owners with know-how to manage their credit and their overall finances properly. Primarily, credit counsellors will help draw up a workable budget for a debtor based on a comprehensive financial assessment. Credit counselling as a form of credit card debt relief is best for individuals who have the capacity to post regular payments but are otherwise negligent and undisciplined in handling their month-to-month finances.

Most credit counselling services are free of charge. There are many public offices and non-profit groups who provide this kind of credit card debt relief service. There may be fees required for additional services such as extended counselling, phone follow-ups and monitored repayments. Beware of so called credit counsellors who ask for significant fees or "donations" otherwise you may end up in more debt than when you started.

Debt Management Plans

As for debt management plans (DMP), the focus shifts toward maximizing one's savings to reduce or eliminate the debt as fast as possible. This form of credit card debt relief works with the limited resources of the debtor to pay off the debt with the highest interest first; then once paid off, the savings from the fulfilled payment schedule would be reassigned to pay off the next, and so on and so forth until the entire debt has been paid. The repayments are usually deposited with the company offering the DMP, who will then see to it that the planned repayments are followed correctly. Most debt management plans also attempt to negotiate with the creditors to lower interest rates or reduce the outstanding debt to be paid.

DMP offerings usually have fees but these should be relatively affordable. Look for companies that don't charge up front but rather gets their earnings only after you have actually gained considerable savings from the program or only when they have successfully negotiated favorable terms for you with the respective credit companies.

Settlement Plans

Another type of credit card debt relief solution is the debt settlement plan. A settlement is essentially a negotiated term for the payment of an obligation which usually means the total amount payable will be appreciably discounted with the creditor's consent. This is a very aggressive course of action that may result with the debtor paying a lot less compared to the original debt but will almost always incur significant fees from the agency handling the negotiations.

Most consider settlement plans one step shy of filing for bankruptcy and so to pursue it may not reflect well for one's credit score. Thus, this particular credit card debt relief plan is reserved for those with the least resources available and who are no longer too worried about maintaining a healthy credit rating for short-term purposes but simply just wants to get out of the debt fast.

When availing of credit card debt relief programs, it is imperative to closely examine their pros and cons. Carefully read the fine print to any agreement as the service may charge hidden costs or other such extraneous fees. If you don't, instead of getting credit card debt relief, you may end up unpleasantly surprised.
About the Author
Learn more about how to get relief from credit card debt. You can be debt free in only 3 to 5 years - you just need to learn the secrets. Our free ecourse teaches you how to get out of debt, stay out of debt and get on with your life at Credit Card Debt Relief or http://no-debt.net/debt-info/credit-card-debt-relief
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