Credit Cards: Knowing Your Limits
Last month marked the 50th anniversary of the Barclaycard; Britain’s very first credit card. Who would have thought that back in the 60’s, being privileged with the trust from a bank to spend and re-pay a set amount of credit on time would evolve into an essential (and sometimes damaging) financial tool for consumers and businesses alike.
So much has changed since then; with more and more financial institutions offering these little pieces of plastic to us, it’s estimated that there is over 60 million are in circulation here in Britain; that’s enough to give almost every man, woman and child!
Low interest rates, balance transfers, and ‘perks’ such as the ability to have your card personalised with your very own photo has enticed us to sign up; not to mention the all-important limit we are entrusted to keep within.
Some of us have relied on those 16 unique digits to allow us to spend beyond our means and worry about it later. Whilst this pattern of behaviour can be exciting, impulsive, or silly, it’s so important to remember that the relationship you should have with your credit card should have the same care and compassion as a real one.
If you are struggling with credit card debt, the first thing to do is to acknowledge it. Study your credit card statements thoroughly. How much is owing, and when are the payments due? Can I afford to pay them?
Next work out your monthly expenditure, you might find our debt calculator quite helpful. It’s a good idea to map out the key dates in your financial calendar. Place all your outgoings and their due dates on a calendar you can refer to. Go that extra step and place the statement production dates too. This is helpful in planning ahead for the following month. A visual calendar could help you, so print one off and keep it up to date.
Reducing the outstanding amounts can be achieved without going over your limit, harming your credit file, or worse, defaulting. You’ll soon find that setting up scheduled payments, budgeting to pay more than the minimum amounts owing, and not spending on the card will bring the balance down. It may take some time, but with discipline and dedication, you’ll do it!
If you are struggling with credit card debt, please give our team a call on 0800 0851 825 or use our contact form. Our advisors can speak with you about all available debt solutions such as Debt Management, IVAs, Bankruptcy and Debt Consolidation.
All debt solutions need to be carefully considered. IVA’s are formal solutions and failure to keep to the terms can result in your IVA failing and you could end up bankrupt.
There is also free debt help and advice available through a variety of debt charities. For more information, we recommend you visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.
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