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Credit card debt relief options for Michigan consumers

Michigan consumers who are facing high levels of debt are often attracted to a range of "quick fix" debt-relief offers. Chief among these are credit card balance transfers, which promise a zero or low interest rate on credit balances transferred in from other accounts. If a consumer is able to pay down the balance quickly, there is a possibility of significant debt reduction.

However, this teaser rate is usually good for a very limited amount of time. Once that period expires, the rate on the remaining balance jumps back up to market levels or higher. Unless a consumer has the ability to pay off virtually all of the balance within that timeframe, this leaves many with a high balance at a high rate of interest. Even worse, the opening of a new account and the closing of an older one could have negative effects on that person's credit score, leaving them unable to qualify for similar offers in the future.

Should an individual decide to try one of these offers, it is imperative that each and every requirement be met. Read the fine print to understand when the monthly payment is due, as well as the ramifications for missing a payment. It is also important to find out if the low introductory rate applies to new purchases in addition to balance transfers. Above all else, keep in mind that this new line of credit is a debt-reduction tool, not a license to increase debt by purchasing new items.

For many Michigan consumers, high levels of credit card debt can threaten one's overall financial standing. Not being able to cover the minimum monthly obligation leads to stress, family turmoil and an ever-worsening spiral of debt. While balance transfers can be a useful tool to help consumers pay down high balances, they are generally beneficial only to the credit card companies that offer them. For most consumers, filing for personal bankruptcy is a much better debt-relief option, and can provide fast, simple and lasting debt relief.

Source: ChicagoNow.com, "How to Do a Credit Card Balance Transfer Without Getting Burned," Dec. 10, 2012

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