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Credit Card Debt * Elimination Or Consolidation? - Articles Surfing

You*re at the end of your rope and you simply can*t do it anymore. You*re drowning in debt and sick and tired of trying to gather enough money each month just to make the minimum payments due on your credit cards. You can be certain that you*re not alone. There are many people who are facing a financial crisis much like the one with which you*re dealing. It's overwhelming and scary, especially if your accounts are delinquent and you*re receiving threatening and harassing calls and letters from debt collectors. Take comfort in knowing that you will overcome this financial burden because, fortunately, there are options available to you.

Credit Counseling * When you sign up for a credit counseling service, credit counselors contact your various creditors to work out a repayment plan, usually negotiating reduced interest rates and payments. You*re then required to make one monthly payment to the consumer credit counseling service and they in turn distribute the funds each month to your various creditors. If you*re considering this option, it's important to do your homework. Many credit counseling agencies are funded by your creditors, therefore, you*re left to wonder whether or not the credit counseling service is legitimately interested in what's best for you, the consumer. Also, just because credit counseling services claim to be *nonprofit* organizations, it doesn*t mean their services are free or affordable. In fact, many of these firms aren*t even legitimate. Again, do your homework to be sure this is the best route for you, as entering into a credit counseling agreement can take five years or more to pay off your debt.

Debt Consolidation * If you have sufficient equity in your home, you may be eligible to obtain a second mortgage or home equity line of credit. This could possibly enable you to lower the cost of your credit with an interest rate reduction. While the thought of paying off your credit cards with a reduced interest loan is tempting, be very cautious prior to using your home as collateral. If, at any point during the term of the loan, you are unable to make your payments, you could lose your home. Also, it's crucial to shop around, as the cost of a home equity loan can add up quickly if you*re required to pay points. When you look closely at the bottom line, you want to see that you*re ahead * not still drowning in debt.

Bankruptcy * Generally, bankruptcy is considered as a *last resort* for most people due to the fact that bankruptcy is a matter of public record and its ramifications are long-lasting. As you*re probably aware, there are two forms of bankruptcy * Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is known as *straight bankruptcy* because your debts are discharged and no repayment plan is required. As a result of the new bankruptcy law that went into effect back in October 2005, however, many people find that they*re no longer eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and instead must file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires a court-approved repayment plan, usually over a period of five years or so. After all payments have been made, you receive a discharge of debts. Another major hurdle as a result of the new bankruptcy law is the requirement to get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within six months before you file for any type of bankruptcy relief. If bankruptcy is your only option, be sure to ask questions and hire an attorney with whom you*re comfortable.

Debt Settlement (Debt Negotiation) * Debt settlement is a process whereby most creditors will agree to accept less than the full balance to settle outstanding debt. Debt settlement has proven to be an excellent solution for many individuals and businesses who may have otherwise found it necessary to file bankruptcy. As with all of your options to become debt-free, be very careful when choosing the debt settlement firm with you'll be working. For instance if you*re thinking about hiring a firm who will require you to set up a trust account or pay a monthly fee, you may want to think twice about that particular firm. Work with a company with whom you feel you can trust to represent you with only your best interest in mind.

In the end, what's most important is that you resolve your debts by choosing the option which will best meet your needs. Take a serious look at your financial situation so that you can better decide which path is best for you. Once you*ve made the decision to put your debt behind you, you'll feel a great deal of relief. It's not necessary to go another month with fears and concerns over your financial predicament.

Submitted by:

Susan Megge

Susan Megge is a consultant in the credit services industry. Over the past several years she has assisted many individuals in resolving their debt-related matters. For more information regarding credit and debt visit http://www.donaldsonwilliams.com



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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