Commenting on recent figures from Standard Life, financial solutions company Think Money stresses the negative impact of carrying debts - and suggests ways of minimising that impact.
"Used cautiously, credit cards can be a useful tool," a spokesperson for Think Money stated. "They can provide the short-term credit that people often need to add that bit of flexibility to their monthly finances - without having to apply for a small loan every time they need a small amount of extra cash.
"At the same time, this can also be one of the most worrying things about credit cards. That immediate availability of credit is one of the reasons many people end up owing far more than they expected on their credit cards. It's easy to borrow a bit more, a bit more, a bit more…"
Standard Life's press release indicates that UK adults who hold credit cards spend £317 per month repaying them - a total of £3,804 per year.
"The best way of tackling credit card debt will vary from person to person," Think Money's spokesperson continued. "There's no single 'best' way of dealing with credit card debt.
"For people with the financial means to do so, making overpayments is an excellent way to reduce the time it takes to clear those debts, as well as the overall cost of interest. When a household puts as much towards their debt as they can realistically afford each month, they can cut the repayment period by years - and the long-term cost by hundreds or thousands of pounds.
"Making overpayments can require a lot of determination, but taking ten minutes with an online calculator can turn up some startling figures that underline how effective this approach can be. Printing out a few different 'scenarios' and putting them somewhere prominent is a great way to stay motivated.
"Overpayments aren't always an option, however, as people whose finances aren't so healthy might struggle to do that every month. Someone in that situation could consider the benefits of consolidating their debts with an interest-free balance transfer card. Again, it's important to 'do the maths' - they'd need to look at how much they'd be charged for this as well as how much they'd save on interest."
And some people, of course, can't afford their monthly payments, perhaps because they're struggling with a range of unsecured debts and financial commitments. If someone thinks they're approaching the point where their income isn't enough to cover their monthly costs, it's important they consider their options.
"If they simply can't afford their payments," the Think Money spokesperson concluded, "one option may be a debt management plan, in which their lenders are asked to consider accepting lower monthly payments that they can realistically afford. The consequences of making lower payments, as you'd expect, are effectively the opposite of making overpayments each month, since each month would be more affordable, but the overall cost can be greater, due to interest (although lenders will often agree to freeze or reduce interest while someone's on a debt management plan).
"Nonetheless, debt management can be the best way forward for many people, helping them repay the money they owe at a rate they can afford. What counts is that borrowers take action sooner, rather than later, and make sure they understand the benefits and drawbacks of different approaches before they commit themselves to any of them."
Notes to Editors
Think Money is one of the UK's leading financial solutions providers, delivering a comprehensive range of financial solutions, including loan, insurance and banking solutions.
Think Money defines its mission as 'To educate, rehabilitate and advise on all aspects of financial management'.
For more information on debt management, visit the Think Money website at http://www.thinkmoney.com/
Or visit Think Money's debt management plans page here:
Tel: 0845 056 6480
This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Think Money in the following categories: Personal Finance, Business & Finance, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.