First off, with today's cheap credit, the only reason you should have a high interest rate on a credit card is if you have made late payments. If you've been paying off bills on time and your credit is good, call your credit card company and ask for a lower rate. If you are refused, ask to speak to a supervisor and press your case and tell the supervisor you are ready to switch cards. If you still can't get the company to budge, be prepared to apply for a lower rate card and transfer your balance.
If your credit is blemished due to late payments, you need to set up a push payment plan to get rid of your highest interest debt first. You can set this plan up yourself using Debt Analyzer software, which you can download for free at DebtAnalyzer.com. If you don't think you're up to the task, you can enlist the help of a qualified credit counselor by visiting the National Consumer Credit Foundation's Web site and using its search tool to find a counselor near you.
You can also use Bankrate.com's Pay-down Debt Adviser calculator in the site's calculator section. The good thing about Debt Analyzer is that you can play with the numbers yourself, plus push a button to run a slew of very easy to read reports literally in the blink of an eye. These reports allow you to see when each debt will be paid off, which can be a powerful incentive.
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|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|