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Time is an important factor when tackling credit card debt

After the holidays, many people receive credit card statements that are higher than usual. After spending money on gifts, travel, and a host of other costs, New Yorkers may wind up with balances that exceed their capacities to pay in full. It may be tempting to ignore a high credit card statement for as long as possible, but advisers in the field of credit counseling warn that putting of payments can be detrimental to the card holder.

For example, the longer a balance sits on a card, the higher the interest charges may rise. Paying a card off in full the month that the balance is received can prevent the imposition of interest charges; when balances are unusually high, not all people are able to come up with sufficient cash to bring their accounts to paid in full.

Individuals with high credit card balances have options, though. They may choose to transfer their balances to new cards with lower or nonexistent interest rates, or they may choose to make monthly payments toward the satisfaction of their bills. Monthly payments, however, can endure for years before a credit card balance is paid off and a paying party may end up paying significantly more than their balance by the time the bill is satisfied.

Credit card debt is a major contributor to consumer debt, which can also include debt to medical providers, mortgage providers, and others. When the ability to pay off one's outstanding financial obligations becomes burdensome, it may be time for the individual to consider their debt relief options. One of those options is bankruptcy, a legal tool that allows a person to wipe clean their financial hardships and start over with a clean slate. Attorneys who practice bankruptcy law can advise their clients on the bankruptcy options that may be best for them.

Source: nytimes.com, "Time Is Not on Your Side When It Comes to Credit Debt," Ann Carrns, Jan. 20, 2017

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