3 Questions You Need to Ask to Get Yourself Out of Credit Card Debt

by Michelle Guerrere
PHOTO:

Drew Parcell for Pink Peonies

Bills, bills, bills. There’s a reason Destiny’s Child wrote a song about them, and it’s probably the same reason we cringe every time we open our mailbox (why is it no one’s ever sending us checks?). Credit cards can be a very liberating yet very scary thing, like when your bank ups your limit for the first time and makes you feel like a boss. But those new clothes won’t pay for themselves—the bills don’t lie. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. As reported by Business Insider, a 2015 NerdWallet study found the typical U.S. household has $15,000-plus in credit card debt alone, not accounting for car leases, mortgages, or student loans. Wondering how to change the tide in your favor? While you should stick to the basics like monitoring your credit card spending and using cash whenever possible, author Rebecca Reisner of LearnVest offers some other must-read tips—namely, what you have to ask your credit card company—for getting yourself out of debt:

1. Can you waive my late fee? There’s nothing worse than realizing you missed your payment date and have to spend money on, well, spending money. Chances are, if you are not a repeat offender, your bank will waive the fee the first time.

2. Can you lower my APR? Asking to have your annual percentage rate lowered is like asking for a pay raise: No one wants to do it, but you will be very pleased if it turns out in your favor. Typically, banks will lower your rate around 3%, especially if you can prove you’re being targeted to switch to another company (so keep all those pesky letters from the competitors).

3. Can we change my due date? If you’re proactive about letting your credit card pros know when you are paid and when a convenient payment date would be for you each month, chances are they might take you up on it. After all, it never hurts to ask.

Have you ever been in credit card debt? Tell us below, and consider a self-help book to help you eliminate it.

Explore: money, Debt

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