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Balance transfer credit card churn could mean a big burn

The mere existence of credit card debt does not mean that you should settle into debt fret. As we noted in one past post, a number of factors can influence whether there's reason for an Illinois consumer to worry.

If you have a lot of credit cards, each carrying a balance; if you carry more debt than you have available credit; or if you find you only can pay the minimum amount due on your existing balances; then it might be worth your while to look at your debt relief options, including the protection of filing for bankruptcy.

Among the options you may be inclined to examine is one suggested by some experts – stop paying interest. Of course, you can't just choose to stop paying interest on the balance you owe, but you could give yourself some breathing room by transferring your balances to a single card that offers a zero percent introductory balance for transfers. But be warned, such a strategy isn't always the panacea it's made out to be.

Yes, you may be able to bring your interest payments down to zero, allowing all of your payment to go toward reducing the debt balance. But if the transfer card you pick doesn't give you a wide enough window of time – say 18 months – you could find yourself caught up short. For many people, this can lead to what some experts call a "cycle of churning."

Too often, consumers turn from one transfer credit card to another and simply spiral into a deeper debt dilemma. If you don't pay close attention, you might find that each transfer costs you a fee of about 3 or 5 percent of the balance for the transaction. Failure to read the fine print of the credit agreement could also prove disastrous. One missed payment could slam the no-interest window shut and trigger a high annual percentage interest rate.

The key to success is in having a plan. And as it happens, that's one of the advantages of working with an experienced debt relief attorney. If you file for bankruptcy you not only have a plan, you have a court's protection to carry it out.

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