Just because you’ve been turned down for balance transfers and personal loans doesn’t mean you’re destined for bankruptcy.
This post is sponsored by Debt.com.
America is drowning in debt—and credit cards are dragging us down. According to statistics from Debt.com:
- We owe more than $1 trillion on our cards. That’s enough to buy every NFL, NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball team in the country
- Nearly two-thirds (over 65%) of us carry monthly balances. We’re paying the credit card companies staggering interest rates each month
- We owe enough to buy our families food for a year. The average household owes more than $16,000 on their credit cards
And while a common narrative is that people run up credit card balances with frivolous spending, the reality is that most people facing challenges with debt didn’t have any other options. Stagnant incomes, rising prices, and the ever-increasing cost of living is leaving millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck. Then, when a disaster strikes, these people are forced to go into debt just to stay afloat.
Meet Diane, a single mom who found a solution
That’s the type of situation that Diane faced after she lost her job. Although she was out of work for less than two months, as a single-mother of two she was already stretched thin with no emergency savings to fall back on. When she her company laid her off, all of her bills, groceries, and other necessities went on credit—it was the only choice she had. The job loss created a major setback she’s still working to recover from.
While a common narrative is that people run up credit card balances with frivolous spending, the reality is that most people facing challenges with debt didn’t have any other options.
Once she got a new job, Diane was optimistic that she’d be able to catch up. But getting ahead of her credit card debt proved to be harder than she’d anticipated. Her new job covered all the expenses in her budget, but there wasn’t much left over. She didn’t have extra cash to make more than the minimum payments on her credit cards. And any time an unexpected expense came up, she was forced to put that on a credit card, too. Instead of regaining stability and control over her debt, her balances were slowly getting higher.
Things got worse in 2017 when interest rates started to rise. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates three times in 2017 and another four times in 2018. Since almost all credit cards have variable interest rates, consumer interest rates gradually increased. And anyone with high balances like Diane also saw their monthly minimum payment requirements increase as well.
As a result, Diane was forced to start juggling bills just to make ends meet. There were some months where she just couldn’t keep up with everything. She finally realized that her strategy wasn’t working and that she needed to find a solution. So, she started to look into debt relief options online.
Diane’s problems escalated
That’s when Diane ran into another problem that her challenges with credit card debt had created. She’d only missed a few payments on a few credit cards, but those little missteps had dropped her credit score by over 100 points. She got rejected when she applied for a balance transfer credit card. Then she got rejected on a debt consolidation loan, too. Nobody was willing to extend her any new credit, so any do-it-yourself solution was off the table. If she wanted to avoid bankruptcy, she needed help.
What to do when low credit scores limit your options
This isn’t an uncommon situation. Only 30% of Americans have credit scores that are considered excellent (750 and above); another 13% have a score that is considered good (700-749). But that leaves more than half of Americans (57%) with fair-to-poor credit ratings. So, while do-it-yourself debt solutions exist, they don’t work for a large percentage of the population who don’t have the credit score necessary to qualify.
[Americans] owe more than $1 trillion on our cards. That’s enough to buy every NFL, NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball team in the country.
Diane worried that she was headed for bankruptcy, which would just set her credit back even more. But after seeing a commercial for Debt.com, she decided to make one last attempt to find a solution. She spent about 30 minutes on the phone with a representative reviewing her situation. By the end of the call, she had a solution that would pay off her debt. It wasn’t going to solve her problems overnight, but she finally had peace of mind that she’d be able to become debt free without going through bankruptcy.
Taking the first steps to get the help you need
If Diane’s situation sounds familiar, then it may be time for you to reach out for professional help, too. Every financial situation is unique, which means any debt relief service you work with will need to understand your situation in order to recommend the best solution. Before you call to get professional help, you'll want to gather up all the relevant information the debt resolution specialist will need to accurately assess which solution is best for you.
Here is a list of what you need to have on hand when you call for debt help:
- A list of each debt you owe, including the current balance, APR, monthly payment, and the status of the debt (whether it’s current, behind, charged off, or has been sold to collections)
- A breakdown of your monthly income, including how much your income varies from month to month. You should also indicate if any of your income is uncertain (from inconsistent child support payments, for example).
- Details on all of your monthly expenses, including the amounts for bills and your average spending for necessities like groceries and gas
- Information on debt solutions you may have already tried, such as debt consolidation loans or if you’ve previously enrolled in a debt management or settlement program
Having this information readily available will ensure that a debt relief specialist can fully understand your financial situation to make recommendations accordingly. Then, with one phone call to 1-844-707-8690, you speak to a specialist and find the best solution to help you save time, money, and aggravation as you work to become debt free.