Debt Settlement Isn't Always The Best Answer

Hey everyone, thanks for joining me for this week’s Monday Money! Yesterday, a friend of mine who owns a pretty decent business received a call from a debt settlement company. He said one of the first questions they asked was “How much money do you owe on credit cards?”.

He answered with a pretty high number, at least in the average Joe’s eyes. The salesman then began to tell him about debt settlement.

Well, He Began To Tell Him The Good Things

He started by asking the question, “Would you like to be able to pay it off with only a 55% payment?”. Of course the answer was yes. He then continued to tell my buddy about the fact that their company would negotiate the balance due and he could actually pay less than he owes.

But, The Salesman Forgot To Talk About One Thing

When talking to my buddy, the salesman told him all the good things, but forgot to tell him about the damage it could do to credit. He also never mentioned that the program was designed for consumers facing financial hardships. Yes, my buddy has more than $10,000 in credit card debt at almost any given time, but he always pays it off within the grace period. He never pays interest. He also wasn’t born yesterday. He played along, but didn’t sign up. Which leads us to the main topic of discussion today…

What Options Do People Who Have A Handle On Their Debts Have To Save Money?

The truth is, debt settlement, debt consolidation, even financial hardship programs are designed for a core group of consumers who’ve come across hard times. However, if you’re making it just fine, but you’d like to save money, you may feel out of luck. Well, that’s not necessarily the case. There are tons of options out there for you! Here are my favorite two…

  • Interest Rate Negotiations – Although you may think of credit card companies as huge corporations that don’t care about each and every one of their clients, that’s not necessarily the case. If they didn’t care about their clients, they wouldn’t be going very far. That being said, lenders will often change terms to keep customers. For those having hard times, they do it through financial hardship programs. For those doing just fine, a simple call to negotiate a reasonable rate could be all it takes to save you some money. For more information on negotiating credit card interest rates, click here.
  • Balance Transfer Credit Cards – If your lender isn’t willing to work with you on interest, there is a way to get savings anyway. You can do it through balance transfer credit cards. Because of crazy amounts of competition in the credit card industry, lenders started to come up with ways to make their products stand out more than the products offered by the competition. And so, balance transfer credit cards were born. With these cards, you can transfer a balance or several balances from high interest rate accounts, into your new low interest rate card. To check out what’s on the balance transfer market these days, click here.

Final Thoughts

One of the bigger reasons I wrote this article is that debt consolidation and debt settlement may seem incredibly appealing, even to those that don’t need it. However, if you’re not in need, you shouldn’t sign up. Doing so can and will do damage to your credit scores. Instead, it’s best to get creative and think of other ways you can save on your debts.

Reader Question

What is the most creative way you’ve found to save money on your credit card debt?

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