SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – If you’ve used your credit cards and charged up to $ 1,250 for those Christmas gifts, you’ve got a lot of company.
A new investigation by Loan tree says about 36% of consumers have incurred vacation debt this season. That’s an increase of about 5%.
“We’ve seen that people kind of tend to spoil vacations and certain events to kind of make up for how lousy the last couple of years have been,” said Matt Schulz of Lending Tree.
The survey shows that up to 60% of people have used credit cards. Although the average debt ($ 1,249 in the last vacation is lower than the previous year, while the average debt was $ 1,381), it is still a large amount than the average family. must try to repay.
“In a time like this, where so many people are living on paychecks and so many people are struggling financially, it really matters,” Schulz said.
About 80% of those polled say they will not be able to repay the debt within a month. About 45% said they would try to consolidate their debt or transfer their balance to a low or no interest credit card.
Schulz says you’re not always stuck with a high interest credit card.
“One of the things you can do that a lot of people don’t realize is call your credit card issuer and ask if they’re going to lower your interest rate,” Schulz said. “Making that call can be a really good idea because your chances of success are better than you might think. “
He says more than half of the people who ask for a lower rate end up getting it. A lower interest rate can save most people hundreds of dollars a year and help them pay more on the debt balance.
Schulz also suggests checking whether you can qualify for a zero interest rate credit card and transferring high balances to that card. He says you normally have to pay a 3% to 5% transfer fee, but even with that you would still be saving money.
“These (zero interest) offers are really plentiful now and they weren’t as available as they were a year ago because the banks were being more cautious in the midst of the pandemic,” Schulz said. “But there are now a lot of cards that offer zero interest for 15 months, 18 months, or even 21 months with no interest on transferred balances. And that’s a really big deal for people with big sales.
Schulz says the debt can be overwhelming, especially at this time of year. But he says there are things you can do and the best thing is to face them and budget.
“The last thing you should do is ignore it because all it’s going to do is get worse,” Schulz said.