According to statistics, 70% of the United States population has credit cards, with 34% carrying 3 or more cards. Though not essential, this number shows that it’s still preferable to have at least one credit card. But, having a credit card in hand means there will be a temptation to use it. Suddenly, you have tons of debt and wonder how to pay them up. What if there’s a very easy solution? You read that right! You can just stop paying credit card debt and stop worrying about it.
Credit cards and the temptation that comes along with them can be everyone’s financial enemy. This case is especially true to millennials, who often prefer a quick shortcut to get what they want. Newest phone model? Swipe. Hyped sneakers? Swipe. Designer clothes? Swipe. Not to mention those Buy Now Pay Later companies. As long as swiping a credit card is an option, people seem to not care about anything else. After all, what they want is in hand, what else to worry about?
That is until the debt started to blow out of control. Suddenly there’s a huge bill to pay. People start counting, trying to fix their finance, throwing out what they want, and focus on what they need. But then, it’s too late, there’s no way their same income can cover those bills. At this point, they start blaming credit cards for ruining their life. Sounds familiar? Keep reading to find out how to gain back the power in your life.
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The Largest Credit Card Companies
Before starting your credit card journey, it’s better to know who you’d be indebted to. Nowadays, there are so many options to choose from. Credit card companies come in all shapes and sizes. Of course, you shouldn’t entrust your financial future to shady credit card companies. According to CardRates, here are some of the largest credit card companies (measured by active US accounts).
What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your Debt
People always think everything will go downhill once they stopped paying for their credit card bills, and that’s true to some extent. You might feel relieved, but there are consequences. Credit card issues won’t let you off the hook that easily and will take action on your missed payments. Starting small at first, the consequences of missing payments will start small and increase over time.
1. Late Fees and Interest
Everyone knows you will have to pay interest when using credit cards. But late fees plus interest increase? Now that’s scary. You will have to pay more monthly to make up for the missing payments, alongside the late fee. Furthermore, the more payments you missed, the higher the penalty rate becomes. In short, it becomes more and more difficult to catch up the more behind you are.
2. Lasting Effect
Even after you catch up with the payment, the penalty rate will remain the same until six consecutive on-time payments. After that, the interest rate applies to your existing balance. Note that the penalty may remain in effect for new purchases you make.
3. Non-Stop Reminders
At this phase, you will start getting contacted by the credit card companies. Phone, mail, text, and email, you will receive reminders about payments everywhere. These reminders start as occasional things, but the longer you delay payments, these reminders will get more and more frequent. Aside from an increase in frequency, they will get harsher in tone. Your credit creditor will also start mentioning serious actions they might take.
4. Credit Report and Impact on Credit Score
For those who care a lot about credit reports, late payments will be a nightmare. After 180 days of no payment, your account will be charged off. This means the credit card companies have decided to write off those unpaid debts as a business loss. That doesn’t mean you got out without consequences. Even though technically you don’t owe the money anymore after the charge off, a serious impact will be on your credit report. And this won’t go away for the next seven years. The worst part is, this report will alert other people that you have defaulted. The impact on your credit score may also ruin your chance of getting new credit cards or future loans.
5. Collection Agency
After the charge off, your debt will be transferred or sold to a collection agency. From there, they will be the ones trying to collect your debt. Your debt will be passed on from one agency to another until it’s either paid or you declare bankruptcy. These agencies are known to be more aggressive when contacting debtors. Judging from all the nasty consequences, stop paying credit card debt, and stop worrying about it sounds like a bad idea. But is that the truth?
Stop Paying Credit Card Debt and Stop Worrying About It
If you owe $20 and have $200 in your bank account, of course, you should prioritize paying off your debt. But lots of people don’t have that option. Every month, thousands of people are forced to stop paying credit card debt because of their financial status. Losing jobs, crumbling business, and personal problems may lead to people having to choose food and shelter or credit card payment. Being unable to pay your debts sounds scary. So, you need to know what to do in the situation.
First, change your way of thinking and priorities.
Despite having creditors chase after you, try telling yourself that you’re making the right choice. But, accepting the fact that you can’t pay doesn’t mean you should doing nothing about it.
Don’t let yourself get “eaten” by credit card monsters.
Instead, follow the footsteps of some people and adapt to the debt collectors’ strategies until you can successfully live a debt-free life. In short, you have to defend yourself from the collectors.
Don’t blame yourself
As you change your way of thinking, you need to realize that you’re not always the reason for the financial breakdown. Stuff happened, and you ended up having to owe more than you can pay, but that doesn’t mean you are doomed.
Here’s what you need to know:
Like what’s mentioned above, the credit card company “wrote off” your debt and moved on after six months of no payments. After six months of no payments, you will start receiving calls about your “debt” from debt collectors. These debt collectors and agencies only paid a few cents for each dollar you owed. However, they will be harsher than credit card companies. The debt collectors will use your “moral obligation” way of thinking to scare you into paying.
This is where the “stop paying credit card debt and stop worrying about it” tactic works. You need to understand that the debt collectors took a big risk in purchasing your account. They want to scare you into paying them instead of the original credit card company, reaping a huge profit. Even if you decided to pay them, the damage’s been done to your credit. Furthermore, your credit card companies wouldn’t receive a penny if you decided to pay the debt collectors.
Most people don’t know that debt collectors will use every way, legal and sometimes “illegal” tactics to extort their money. The intimidation and threats might sound scary, but once you show them that you have no fear of the debt collectors, you are no longer the most ideal target for them.
Instead of being scared, try to arm yourself with knowledge. Follow the instruction laid out for you by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Remember that there’s not a chance that you’re their only target. Once they decided you’re not worth their time, these debt collectors would leave you alone.
How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt
Although stop paying credit card debt and stop worrying about it isn’t impossible, you might still find problems along the way. A credit card company taking legal action instead of selling your debt to debt collectors is one of them. It’s wise to control your credit card debt before it snowballs out of control. Here’s some way you can get out of credit card debt.
1. Take Stock
The first step of getting out of debt is acknowledging the amount of debt. You have to be brutally honest with yourself about how much you owe to the last penny. This will set a base on how to repay it.
Action plan: Write down the amount of debt and interest you have everywhere
2. Negotiate on Interest Rate
The lower interest rate can play a huge role in repaying your debt. Even if it’s just a percentage point or two, it might save you hundreds when paying the debt off. You can start by calling the credit card company and politely ask for a lower interest rate. This way might succeed, especially if your credit score is good enough. Nonetheless, it won’t hurt to try.
Action plan: Call the credit card companies and politely ask for a lower interest rate.
3. Track Your Expenses
Whether you have credit cards or not, it’s always good to keep your expenses in check. Each time you spend your money, write it down. Mortgage, food, utilities, insurance, credits, phone, entertainment, and any other bills, make sure you know exactly your spending. This will serve as the base of your budget.
Action plan: Install a simple expense tracker app on your phone and write down your spending.
Now that you’re aware of your expenses, it’s time to cut them down. The key to this is being realistic. Nobody knows you more than yourself, and each person’s lifestyle costs different from others. Try to cut back instead of cutting out. For example, you usually have that delicious pizza every week, now you can have it every two weeks instead.
Action plan: Write down stuff you have to cut out, and divide your monthly budget to weekly to make it easier to know if you’re on track.
5. Choose Your Payment Method
The most common method to pay off a credit card is focusing on one card with the highest interest. Your extra cash should go into paying this card and pay the minimum amount on other cards. This can be the fastest way to lower your debt, as you slowly went through one debt after another. The other strategy is to pay off your card with the lowest balance first and pay the minimums on the others.
Action plan: Choose your payment method and rank which cards to pay off first and stick to the plan.
6. Stash the Cards
According to research by MIT, people tend to spend more money when they pay with a credit card. Try to make a habit of paying for things with cash, even when you’re doing a big transaction. Using cash will make you contemplate more about making a purchase and so, saving money to pay the debt.
Action plan: Store your credit cards somewhere not-so-accessible, make more purchase with cash
7. Create a Goal and Find Support
A long-term goal will help you stay focus and gets you motivated. Planning a dream vacation after all your debts are gone, buying a car or house can be the examples. You don’t have to get through this journey alone. Find a place or community where you can share and learn how to manage your finance to achieve those goals and stay motivated.
Action plan: Write down your goals and keep them in your wallet, purse, and/or phone. They will act as a reminder when you are tempted to overspend.
Before committing on a credit card, you should understand completely your financial situation. Some people still treat credit cards like debit cards and pay it off at the start of next month. It’s not because they don’t understand how credit cards work, some people just dislike piling up debts.
But sometimes no matter how good your control over finance, you may still end up in debt due to circumstances. In that case, try to focus on paying off your debt. But what if the interests are too high? What if you can’t survive if you decided to pay it off? Well, maybe stop paying credit card debt and stop worrying about it can be your last resort.
We recommend using the Buy Now Pay Later feature at stores where you need to buy your items. Some companies even offer no credit check with instant approval and no money down. Doesn’t it sound great?