Credit Card Help: As Mentioned On WITN News At 5 & 11

By: Christine Kennedy
By: Christine Kennedy

It's a catch 22 for a lot of people, you need a credit card to do so much in today's society, but the lure of buy now pay off later can suck many in to a dangerous cycle of debt. If you find yourself paying the minimum due or maybe you can't even do that, you're not the only one. Millions are in debt and don't know what to do.

A volatile stock market, the housing market collapse and crippling unemployment numbers. THEY'RE just some of the reasons that Eric Sauder, a financial specialist at Clearpoint Financial Solutions has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking help.

Sauder said, "Because of the way the economy's going a lot of people are being laid off, their income is reduced, their interest rates are being increased by the credit card companies, they're just having a lot of problems so they call us."

The Greenville based branch is a non-profit debt solutions company. it offers sound monetary advice when the credit card, medical and other bills start stacking up and taking over a person's life.

"Compared to last year at this time, our call volume is way up. A lot more people are having difficulty than they were before", Sauder said.

And Sauder says those calls have led to a 25 percent increase in the volume of people coming into his office to take control of their debt.

So what can be done?

Sauder says the best thing to do is to call the credit card companies and let them know that there's a problem.

Sauder says just as fast as credit card companies can raise interest rates for any reason, they can lower them too. So in this case, all you have to do is ask. Of course there are no guarantees, but Sauder says a lot of creditors are willing to work with card holders.

In the meantime, cut back on expenses like add on's on your telephone. You can also try to shop around for cheaper car insurance.

Sauder says a trend he's also seen of people picking up a second job and cutting back on things like eating out.

Sauder said, "There's really not a whole lot of overspending going on anymore...It's just everything is increasing except the income."

Making a rough time for the U.S. economy, paralyzing for the average American consumer.

If you find yourself asking how much debt should i have to consider using a debt management program, Sauder says it varies. He says he's seen people with as little debt as $1,000 to $191,000 in unsecured debt.

Sauder says there are pretty much three options. You can consult with a non-profit agency like his to get your finances in order. You can also contact agencies that negotiate with the credit card companies for a debt settlement. And the last resort is filing for bankruptcy.

He says the best thing to remember about a credit card is not to get too many and to keep the credit limit low and of course don't overspend.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Devil Dog Location: New Bern on Nov 29, 2008 at 02:44 AM
    To Mary....Be sure you make payments early. If you are one minute late, you'll pay 18% interest or higher. Read the fine print. To Millie...The ME and NOW attitude of young couples also contibutes to marriage failure.
  • by Millie Location: Windsor on Nov 28, 2008 at 07:29 AM
    The credit card dilemna has mushroomed into a financial nightmare. It is one of the greatest reasons for marriage failures today.
  • by Mary Location: NC on Nov 28, 2008 at 07:18 AM
    I just transfered to a card with no intrest for a year that way it gives me time to pay it down without the intrest. I am not ever going to get another one I can tell you that. Those things are dangerous!!
  • by Clifton Location: Washington on Nov 27, 2008 at 05:57 AM
    With banks increasing fees , credit card companies raising fees, insurance companies raising fees (policy changes i.e. adding/removing coverage, changing address), and the world in general charging more for things, some of which used to be free, how do es anyone expect to keep their head above water? Wall Street has a bad day. Investors get scared and do not invest. Big business gets scared because Wall Street is down, they lay off workers, worker get behind in bills, banks and all other business charge more for services and raise fees which in turn causes problems for Main Street, which in turn tells investors not to invest, which tells Wall Street there is a problem with the economy, and the problem starts over again and runs its cycle over and over and over until the government says we are NEARING a recession and now EVERYONE is in a bind. Here's a thought. Put people BACK to work. Get Wall Street off the TV. Let investors invest and put our economy back into motion.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 26, 2008 at 04:58 PM
    its ok

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