CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 26, 2007 – It’s easy for consumers to get caught in the credit line trap: the money is there for the taking so you feel entitled to spend it, whether you can afford to or not. If your credit line is beginning to spiral out of control, there are several steps you can take to staunch the spending flow and begin to dig yourself out before the debt accumulates even higher.
“The biggest mistake consumers make when it comes to credit is not realizing they’re in over their heads until it’s too late,” said Bridget Smith, LendingTree.com Smart Borrower Center editor in chief. “But if you know your spending is beginning to spiral out of control, stop immediately and evaluate what alternatives can best help you.”
LendingTree.com suggestions the following options:
• Pay more. Paying the minimum required payment each month ensures your debt will continue indefinitely. Be sure that your monthly payment doesn’t just cover the interest on your credit line, but that it is paying down the principal balance as well.
• Refinance to a home equity loan (HEL). A HEL often times carries a lower interest rate than a credit card, so it’s often wise for consumers with high credit debt to use a HEL to pay off their high interest balances. Just be sure that you remove the danger of overspending before obtaining a HEL so that you don’t fall into the same routine of that you just got yourself out of by obtaining the loan.
• Consider cash-out refinancing. This option involves taking out a new mortgage with a higher principal, then using the extra cash to pay off your credit line. The advantage to this is you have one monthly credit payment instead of two and likely will come with a lower interest rate than a HEL. But, keep in mind, you’ll be financing the cash you borrowed for the life of the new mortgage. This is definitely something to consider.
• Stop spending. Leave the credit card at home when you head out, particularly if you’re heading to a destination that might allow you to make discretionary purchases, such as heading to a restaurant in a mall. It’s hard to spend money if you don’t have access to it.
For more tips on how to gain control over your credit, visit the LendingTree Smart Borrower Center located at www.lendingtree.com/smartborrower.
About LendingTree, LLC
LendingTree, LLC is the nation’s number one online lending exchange, providing a marketplace that connects consumers with multiple lenders that compete for their business. Since inception, LendingTree has facilitated more than 20 million loan requests and $152 billion in closed loan transactions. LendingTree provides access to mortgages and refinance loans, home equity loans/lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans, credit cards and high-yield savings accounts via www.lendingtree.com and 800-555-TREE.
Launched in 1998 with headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, LendingTree, LLC also owns and operates LendingTree Loans sm, LendingTree Settlement Services, LLC, GetSmart®, and HomeLoanCenter.com. LendingTree, LLC is an operating company of IAC.