Web Winners-Help With Managing Credit-Card Debt

By Reid Kanaley
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Credit-card debt can sneak up on you.

If you think $20,000 in such debt is no biggie, you’re wrong. If you think you’ll never have to deal with that kind of number, better think again.

For all but a few of those facing it, living with a credit-card debt of $20,000 or more is a major life problem.

A online survey this month found 5 percent of respondents had such debt, and a significant portion of that group thought most people were like them.

The most common reason for running up such debt, the post says, is that people “don’t have sufficient income to cover their expenses.”

Bottom line: Those debtors may need to seek credit counseling, debt consolidation, or bankruptcy, “which could save them money in the long run and help them repair their finances.”

The main page for’s Managing Debt blog is busy with posts on healthy approaches to credit-card use, how to deal with debt collectors, and related matters.

Coping with debt is the subject of this page at the Federal Trade Commission.
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The post here goes over the range of options for dealing with overgrown debt. The list includes “self-help using realistic budgeting and other techniques; debt-relief services, like credit counseling or debt settlement from a reputable organization; debt consolidation; or bankruptcy.”

The FTC recommends caution when considering use of a debt-relief service, and suggests checking out those businesses with the state attorney general and local consumer protection agency.

Growing credit-card debt can get out of hand. The Fair Isaac Corp., whose closely guarded credit-scoring formula is widely used, offers a few guidelines for handling growing debt.

Carefully weigh how many credit cards you need.

Having too many cards puts a consumer in danger of losing track of expenditures and the potential flood of bills. says having just one card may be a sign of overcaution: “If an emergency like an unexpected hospital stay hits, do you have a way to pay for it? You should always try to keep an unused, available amount of credit for an emergency.”

Legal-information website packs a list of links to its many resources for managing credit-card debt onto this page.

Nolo summarizes options this way: “Sometimes, with strict budgeting and strategically closing some credit card accounts, you can start chipping away at debt.

Other times, you can negotiate a settlement of credit card debt with the bank or credit card issuer. If you are really in over your head, bankruptcy might be your best option.”

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