New Year’s Resolution: Get your credit in shape

As we ring in the new year across the country, many people here in Illinois will be making promises on how to improve their lives in 2016. At Ledford, Wu & Broges, LLC, we know that one item on your list may be to get out of credit card debt. We are here to provide you with some quick tips on how to get started.

The first step in building credit is to know your credit score. Many credit card companies have started listing consumer’s scores on their monthly statement or in an online account. If that is not an option for you, you can obtain your score through either purchasing services from a credit reporting company or using a free service. Be aware, however, that many allegedly free services come with some kind of catch, such as a subscription that will start charging you after trial period ends.

Once you have your credit report, you can view all your outstanding debts and start assessing how to move forward. NerdWallet suggests prioritizing your credit card debt in order of highest to lowest interest rate, then working toward paying off the card with the highest rate. Try doing the following: 

  • Talk to the cardholder to negotiate an interest rate.
  • Put whatever money you can toward the balance.
  • Make at least the minimum payments on other debts to stay in good standing.

NerdWallet points out that if you cannot get a lower interest rate, you could apply for a balance transfer card with a zero percent introductory rate. Just be sure you know when that introductory rate ends and assess all fees so you do not end up paying more money by transferring your balance.

If you are having trouble managing your finances, you should consult with a professional before you run out of options. For more information on this topic, please visit our page on managing credit wisely.

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