Everyone goes through financial hardships from time to time. Whether you’ve taken time off of work for personal reasons, find yourself abruptly unemployed, or simply didn’t expect a certain expense. Going through a time where you’re short on cash is quite common.
The key to making it through these tough times is ensuring you always have a small pocket of savings, and credit cards to carry you through. Credit cards are great for emergencies and can make sure all of your basic needs are covered when you don’t have enough money at hand for what you need.
Follow these simple credit tips, and maintain a good score even when your bank account is looking grim.
Find a Card With 0% APR
Finding a card with an introductory offer of 0% APR for a specific amount of time is a fantastic way to consolidate debts, or have some extra money on hand without the worry of piling on extra interest.
0% APR means no interest on whatever you spend, typically offered for 1 year, or sometimes even more.
Keep an eye out, however, often these cards can get us excited about the initial cheap rate, however, we fail to look at the fine print which lists the interest rate after the initial 0%. Rates can soar to as much as 30% interest, and increase or decrease at any time.
Check a credit website to search for options of cards that may be a good fit for you, and what will best complement your credit standing. Often these sites give you a probability of how much likely you are to be approved or not based on your credit score. This is beneficial so that you don’t waste losing precious points applying for cards you will only be rejected for.
Write a “Goodwill Adjustment” Letter If You Missed a Payment
A late payment can happen to the even the most dependable and punctual people. Sometimes it simply slips past us during a busy time, or perhaps you made a technical error when trying to activate the auto payment option on your account. In your case, it may be because you simply didn’t have the funds during your financial hardship.
When this happens, you can write what is called a “Goodwill adjustment letter.” Write your creditor and explain your circumstances, and ask that the delinquent mark is removed from your account. When awaiting a response, generally about 30 days is the expected window of time before getting in touch again. A financial institution is under no obligation to grant you this exception, so you should not get angry if you are denied.
Consider transferring the balances from all your cards onto your 0% APR card. This way you can pay off your other debt also at the 0% APR rate.
A balance transfer costs a fee that varies from card to card, check with your financial institution for rates.