SOURCE: Informa Research Services, Inc.

Informa Research Services, Inc.

December 11, 2009 19:35 ET

4 Tips to Help Keep Credit Card Debt in Control for 2010 From Informa Research Services

Diligently Maintaining Credit Card Debt Is a Great Way to Start a Prosperous New Year

CALABASAS, CA--(Marketwire - December 11, 2009) - In addition to avoiding outrageous finance charges, being a responsible cardholder will also be reflected on your credit. Excellent credit is a must-have, especially with today's credit crunch, when looking to finance (or refinance) a home purchase. Having good credit will qualify you for the best interest rates on both mortgages and credit cards (

1. Be on time, every time.

Make it a habit to pay your bills before the due date. Using options like online bill pay and pay-by-TXT can eliminate the need to submit your payment early via postal mail. Furthermore, new legislation (effective February 2010) states that credit card companies can no longer charge additional fees to make payments. However, this does not include expedited payments, so you still need to be vigilant of due dates.

2. Pay down existing balances.

Carrying an interest-bearing balance on your credit card without making any payments can be lethal to your finances. Thanks to high interest rates and compounding, balances can balloon out of control in a very short period of time. For instance, a balance of $1,000 bearing an annual rate of 20% will double in less than five years.

New laws in place in accordance with the CARD Act may help you figure out how to properly manage your existing balances. New laws state that credit card companies must let you know how long it will take to pay off existing balances if you only make minimum payments, the total amount you will pay (including interest), and how much you need to pay monthly if you want to pay off the balance in 36 months.

Even if you have a large balance looming, making minimum payments is better than not making payments at all. Furthermore, when you can, pay more than the minimum required payment. Laws governing credit cards now state that any payments that exceed the minimum due is to be applied to the balance carrying the highest interest rate first, then to the next highest, and so on.

3. Do not open unnecessary credit cards.

If you have your hands full with your existing credit cards, adding to your credit card collection is not going to help, no matter how tempting the incentive bonuses are. If for some reason, you must open a credit card, be sure it has a lower interest rate than the ones you already use. You can quickly compare interest rates using online credit card tables. However, be sure to read through each card's details and fees before choosing one.

4. Communicate with your credit card company.

If you cannot make your minimum payment, immediately contact your credit card company and explain your situation to them. This is a better option than skipping the payment altogether. Taking immediate action to try and work with your credit card company may help sustain your credit score. This could save you money in the future by qualifying you for the best interest rates on credit cards and home loans.

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About Informa Research Services, Inc. (

Since 1983, Informa Research Services, Inc. has provided the financial industry's most extensive array of market research and decision-support information.

Contact Information

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    Phone 818-880-8877
    Fax 818-880-2069

    26565 Agoura Road, Suite 300
    Calabasas, California 91302-1942