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San Joaquin County
District Attorney's Office
Consumer ALERT

January 31, 2018

Paying off holiday credit card debt

Credit CardsYou’ve opened all your gifts, and now it’s time to open those post-holiday credit card statements. If you were a little too jolly with your holiday spending, here are some tips to help you pay down your credit card debt.

Start small, then add on. When you use your credit card to buy something, you have borrowed money. If you can pay it all off, that’s great. If not, try to pay at least a little more than the minimum payment. You also can make more than one payment a month. If you can swing it, that extra payment can help you with the goal of paying off the total balance sooner.

Take an ‘interest’ in your payments. If you only pay the minimum each month, you could end up paying much more in interest. Understand your credit card’s interest rate. The more you pay off each month, the less you’ll pay in interest over time.

Know when to pay. You were on time with your gifts, so don’t be late with your payment. Make a note of your credit card’s due date so you pay your bill on time. If you don’t pay on time, you could add extra fees to your final costs.

Take stock. If you’re having trouble making the minimum payment, it’s time to take a hard look at your budget. Can you reduce any spending to free up some funds?

Make a plan if you can’t pay. Owing more than you can afford to repay can damage your credit rating. If you cannot pay the minimum amount due, call your creditors ASAP. They may be able to place you on a payment plan, making your debt easier to manage.

For more help, read using a credit card and paying down credit card debt.

Source: Alesha Hernandez, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC