If you loaded up your credit card in the frenzy of post-Thanksgiving shopping, then you might find yourself with a little surprise in January. The Executive Director of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Northeastern Iowa, Karen Atwood, says credit card companies are being forced to make a change in the amount required for minimum payments.
She says federal regulators want some of the consumer debts reduced, so they’re forcing credit card companies to increase required minimum payments by two to four percent. Atwood says if you have several credit cards and pay the minimum balance on them, then you’ll see a sizable jump in the amount you have to pay come January.
Atwood says the increase will have a good long-term impact — but it could be a shock to some at the start.
She says while it’s good overall, it’s going to hit everybody’s pocket. Atwood says you should look at the total debt and pay a specified amount, not the minimum payment. Atwood says it’s easy to get caught up in the push to please everyone for the holidays and overspend on your plastic.
She says people feel like they haven’t done enough. She says even when a shopper gets something on sale, they then feel they can get something else and that ends up ruining what they’d saved on the sale. Atwood says you can avoid the shock of bigger fees and becoming overburdened with big credit card balances by planning ahead.
Atwood says the secret is to limit what you’re gonna spend and how you’re gonna spend it. She says you should keep your credit card receipts in your wallet so you can always track how much you’ve spent. Atwood says creating a simple budget is something almost anyone can do, but many people just don’t take the time and find themselves in trouble later.