Right now, Ohio consumers have a lot of credit card debt. In fact, it’s a potential problem facing the entire nation. According to recent studies, America’s credit card debt has rose from $11.2 billion to $1.023 trillion in just a year. This puts the total above the pre-recession height in 2008. However, because income levels are also higher (on average) in Ohio and the rest of the country, panic has not ensued. Yet, experts warn that this heavy credit card debt could still lead to problems down the road. In fact, they urge Ohio consumers and those in other states to reign in spending and pay down balances now. While unemployment numbers are low, and wages are up, consumers in Ohio should focus on eliminating credit card debt and improving their credit scores.
How Paying Off Credit Card Debt in the New Year Can Improve Credit Scores in Ohio
When Ohio consumers rely too heavily on credit cards, it puts their credit scores in jeopardy in two major ways. First, carrying high credit card balances inflates credit utilization ratios. These numbers, expressed as percentages, refer to how much of your available credit you use at a given time. Ideally, you should carry balances that reflect 30% or less of your spending limits. Otherwise, your credit score can drop.
In addition, the more debt you carry, the more at risk you are for missing payments and defaulting altogether. Of course, this may seem farfetched if everything is going well. Yet, when Ohio consumers with heavy credit card debt experience major life upsets, catastrophe can strike quickly. This is especially true if they don’t have emergency funds built up to cover expenses. After a job loss or a period of forced time off due to major illness or injury, consumers in Ohio may struggle to keep up with credit card payments. It is, therefore, wise to bring credit card balances down so that you’ll have one less thing to worry about if life hits you with an unpleasant surprise.
How Ohio Consumers Can Pay Off Credit Card Debt, build their Savings, and Improve their Credit Scores in the New Year
When tackling heavy credit card debt, Ohio consumers should rework their budgets first. This is a priority because eliminating unnecessary expenses frees up more income to put toward balances. So, take a good look at your budget, and find money-saving opportunities. For example, if you normally get take-out for lunch, consider how much you might save by brown-bagging it. Or, if you have a fancy coffee habit, you could save as much as $160 a month by switching to homebrewed beverages.
Next, once consumers in Ohio figure out how much they can comfortably put toward credit card debt every month, they should pick a strategy. They can either pay off their smallest balances first (the Snowball Method) or start with the cards that come with the highest interest rates (the Avalanche Method). Either way, as long as you stick to your plan, you should see results pretty quickly. As credit card balances decrease, your credit score should gradually increase over time. This is, of course, as long as you stay current with your other bills and limit credit card use while in debt relief mode.
In addition, don’t forget to set aside money for savings every month. With an emergency fund, you can avoid financial upsets caused by unexpected expenses. So, as the old saying goes, “pay yourself first,” and don’t let anything jeopardize your plan to pay down credit card debt and improve your credit score.
Why Ohio Consumers Should Protect their Credit Scores by Regularly Checking their Credit Reports
As you work to improve your credit score by paying down credit card balances, don’t forget to check your credit reports at least once every 12 months. Not every consumer in Ohio knows this, but about 80% of credit reports contain flaws of some type. These credit report errors typically result from mistakes made by creditors and the credit bureaus. However, consumers often pay the price for these inaccuracies when their credit scores drop.
Of course, it isn’t fair at all for Ohio consumers when credit report errors cost them credit score points. Luckily, though, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows you to challenge credit score damaging mistakes on your credit reports, and demand their removal. Just take advantage of the free annual credit reports granted to you by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). Go to www.annualcreditreport.com once a year, and request copies of your credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian (the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.)
Then, while reviewing your credit reports, if you find errors and mistakes, contact the Law Offices of Gary D. Nitzkin in Ohio. Instead of facing the frustration of handling the dispute process yourself, let our team of credit pros do all of the work for you. Then, an experienced credit attorney from our firm will do whatever it takes to get you clean credit reports – legally and for free.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit in Ohio
Don’t let errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At the Law Offices of Gary D. Nitzkin, P.C., we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? The law allows us to collect our fees and costs from the defendants in any successful action. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (216) 358-0591 or sending him a message through our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair, please visit https://creditrepairlawyersam.com/ohio/credit-repair/.