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How to Manage Your Credit Card Bills, Which Experts Say Are Late More Often – New York Times

  • July 9, 2019
  • By: Greenpath Financial Wellness

Featuring Kristen Holt, President & CEO

Even with a strong economy, a growing number of people are having trouble paying their credit card bills. Late credit card payments, while still low, have been ticking upward for the past two years, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported in May.

Card delinquencies have been rising for borrowers under 30, in particular, but also for borrowers in their 60s, the New York Fed said.

Experian, a major credit bureau, said the average card balance as of May was $6,553, up slightly from the average balance of $6,506 in the second quarter of 2018.

Consumer advocates say they are concerned that more people will find themselves in trouble, should the economy slow. “I’m very worried about it,” said Lauren Saunders, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center, which specializes in working with lower-income people.

There are steps, however, that consumers can take if they are having difficulty paying their credit card bills. They can start by contacting their card companies to see if they can obtain a temporary interest rate reduction or a lower minimum payment. “I would recommend that people first reach out directly to creditors,” Ms. Saunders said. “The earlier you do, the more likely they are to work with you.”

Another option is to seek help from a nonprofit credit counseling agency. Participants can often get a free or low-cost budget review to help them identify areas where they may be able to cut spending and reduce their debt.

Consumers with more serious debt problems, however, may need a more structured approach, said Phil Heinemann, executive director of Debt Management Credit Counseling, a nonprofit organization in Lighthouse Point, Fla.

Continue here to read the entire article at The New York Times and learn how one GreenPath client was able to pay off $40,000 in credit card debt in about five years, saving her approximately $30,000 in interest.

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