Credit card debt: Why you need to pay it off now

(File)
(File)

Borrowing money can be a good thing. It can help you to buy a home, start a business or get an education.

But some debt is just plain dumb – like credit card debt.

Around 50 percent of credit card customers do not pay off the full balance each month.

The interest rates are often more than 20 percent. Those high interest rates mean you will end up paying more than you ever planned or thought you would be paying.

So you need to try to pay off the full balance every month.

It can be tough. So try to create a repayment plan. It's helpful to keep a record of your spending for two weeks to see where the money is going. Is there anything you can cut out?

You might have to take drastic action, like cutting up your credit card. Instead of using a credit card stick to cash or a debit card.

There is another reason to be careful about with credit cards.

The Commission for Financial Capability (CFC) says that studies have found we tend to spend more when using a credit card than we do when spending cash.

If you're struggling with debt – including credit cards, hire-purchase loans and car payments, you should identify which ones loans are carrying the highest interest. Pay those loans off first.

Try to make larger repayments, if you can.

You could consider consolidating the debt into one personal loan that carries a lower interest rate.

But be careful – repaying a new loan over a longer period of time can mean you end up paying more in the long run.

The CFC says the trick is to pay off the loan as quickly as you can and to avoid taking on any new debt.

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