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Paying Off Credit Card Debt: A How-to Guide with Articles and Tips

written by: •edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 11/8/2011

Paying off credit card debt is a smart move. When you are paying interest on money, you are in essence mortgaging your future options to pay for your past purchases. Here's what you need to know to get out of credit card debt fast.

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    Debt free at last! Whether you are currently head over heels in debt, or you are headed for the danger zone, you may wonder about the benefits of reducing or eliminating any plastic debt. Paying off this type of debt can be a good financial strategy if you tackle it in a systematic fashion and pay off the bills in a logical manner.

    However, there are at least two popular schools of thought about how you should approach paying down this debt, and it can be overwhelming to sort through the theories and make the best decision especially if you are already in arrears or facing collection procedures.

    In the articles that follow, we've gathered the best advice by our financial experts. You will learn which cards to pay first and whether you should close accounts once the balances are paid off. Find out what you need to know to understand what credit cards are, how to use them properly, and how to avoid piling up debt.

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    How to Understand All the Interest Rates on Your Credit Card

    If you don't understand how interest rates work, it's easy to end up buried under a mountain of debt that is hard to pay off. If trying to decipher all those zero interest teaser rates and low ball introductory rates makes your head ache, you'll love how Jean Scheid breaks it all down for you in plain English. Find out why (and how) credit card lenders offer varying rates and what you need to do to protect yourself and keep them paid down.

    General Principles of Credit Cards

    In this commonsense guide to responsible credit card use, you'll learn the rest of what you need to do to avoid future credit card debt problems. Learn the most common temptations and traps, and then follow our tips to keep your debt in check and get a better overall understanding of the plastic world and culture.

    Your Guide to Reducing Credit Card Debt

    Okay, so the damage is done and you are deep in debt. Instead of avoiding creditors or missing payments, there's a better way to deal with the problem and salvage your credit history or avoid bankruptcy court. Here are seven real-world tips for reducing your debt quickly.

    Settling Credit Card Debt Fast

    The most common mistake individuals make regarding credit card debt is to procrastinate or avoid addressing the issue. This is a costly decision because you end up paying more finance charges and you could even incur late fees or other fees. Learn how to pay down debt quickly and protect your credit rating.

    Don’t Let Credit Card Debt Get You Down: Settle Up!

    One possible reason individuals hesitate to contact their creditors and face up to their inability to pay their bills is the fear of negotiating. After all, if you have never negotiated a settlement with a creditor, it can be intimidating, but you don't have to remain paralyzed with fear. Here you learn how to approach your creditors, determine your options, and negotiate a win-win agreement to pay your debt.

    Pay Off Debt or Put Money Away?

    Maybe you aren't in financial straits yet but you are monitoring your debt and wondering what would happen if you suddenly lost your source of income. You may wonder if you should be saving money now while you have it in your hand, or if it would make better sense to sock it way for a rainy day emergency. Here's a look at the pros and cons of this issue.

    Which Credit Card Should You Pay Off First?

    There seem to be two popular theories when it comes to the question of which credit card should be paid down first. One school of thought favors paying down the card with the highest interest rate, while the other leans toward paying off the card with the smallest balance first. While we can't tell you which school of thought is best for you because it depends on your individual circumstances, we can provide you with a look at the benefits and drawbacks of both.

    8 Ways to Pay Off Debt

    Are you tired of reading or talking about theories and hypothetical scenarios? Do you just want to make the debt go away? Here's commonsense advice on eight ways you can start paying off those credit cards immediately.

    How to Use a Credit Card Responsibly

    Credit cards are incredibly easy to obtain and you don't have to pass an examination or get a license to use one. While most do come with an "owner's manual" (cardholder agreement), most individuals don't bother to read or understand the fine print. Now that you understand how you probably ended up in debt, here's what you need to know to get out of debt and use your credit more responsibly.

    How Much of My Credit Card Should I Pay?

    Paying minimum payments or skipping payments when the statement says "no minimum payment due" is a trap into which many consumers fall. Interest continues to accrue on unpaid balances, and if you only make the minimum payment, you may never pay down any of the principal amount. Here's what you need to know to make the best decisions.

    The Best Way to Handle Credit Debt

    We have already discussed some popular theories and methods for addressing your debt problem. In your heart, you probably realize there is really only one way to get control of the debt. Here are the steps you'll need to take.

    How to Pay More Than the Minimum Payment on Your Credit Card

    Paying more than the minimum monthly payments is a smart move and one of the faster ways to beat debt quickly. However, you need to be sure that you are doing it in a logical fashion to get the best results. Follow this systematic plan to pay off debt fast.

    How to Negotiate Credit Card Balances in Bankruptcy

    If the worst has happened, and you simply cannot pay off the debt on your credit cards, you might be considering bankruptcy. This is a serious step and it will impact your credit rating for years to come. Before you decide to take this action, find out how the process works and how it could affect you.

    Lower Your Interest Rate in Three Steps

    Does it sound impossibly simple that you could lower your interest rates and pay down debt with just three easy steps? We think you will be pleasantly surprised by how achievable this goal really is. Follow this step-by-step plan and you will be on the road to financial freedom.

    How Closing a Credit Card Account Harms Your Credit Score

    Well, the big day is here and you have succeeded in paying off all that debt on your credit card! However, before you have a card burning party or close all those open accounts, there are some important things you need to know. Learn how to close accounts if that is an action that will truly benefit your financial situation.

    Can You Win the Fight Against Your Credit Card Company?

    Many consumers turn to debt consolidation companies as a last resort because they do not know how to negotiate with their credit card lenders or they lack the time and energy to do so. It is possible to convince these lenders to do things like reduce interest rates or waive fees if you know how to present your case properly. Learn how to fight and win.

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    Share Your Opinions Here

    We hope this guide to paying off credit card debt was helpful and you are on the road to financial recovery. If you have tips or information to share with our readers about your own experiences in dealing with debt, please leave us a note in the comments section. We are always glad to hear from our readers.

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