Managing Back-to-School Expenses

Monday, August 05 at 08:00 AM
Category: Arvest News


Back-to-school time can be exciting for both parents and students, but it also can bring the consequence of credit card debt. In 2017, in fact, a survey showed that more than one in five U.S. parents expected to add debt due to the purchase of back-to-school purchases.

If you are one of those who has added debt to your personal financial situation by back-to-school shopping, consider these remedies to reduce and then eliminate that debt.

Pick a Plan
Designing a sound plan to reduce and/or eliminate credit card debt may make it easier to achieve your goal. One popular first step is to pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate first. It’s the one that’s costing you the most in monthly finance charges. Another option, known as the “snowball” method, calls for paying off the card with the lowest balance first. The logic is that paying off any debt feels good and serves as positive reinforcement that the plan is working.

Pay More than the Minimum
Whatever plan you choose, paying more than the minimum required by the credit card company each month is critical. If you are able to make additional payments over your minimum payment, you may be able to reduce the amount of time it will take you to pay off your balance.

Transfer Time?
One way to manage credit card debt is by transferring your balance to a different card with a lower interest rate – or in some cases, a zero-percent introductory rate. This could reduce the amount of interest accrued on the account as you continue to pay off the principal balance over time. Some transfer offers come with other kinds of perks, such as spending bonuses or bonus earning opportunities. Consider an Arvest Personal Credit Card and enjoy 0%¹ APR for 12 billing cycles. After that, your rate will be based on credit worthiness 14.65% to 21.00%. You can also earn up to $100² in bonus rewards. Balance transfers can be conducted from the minimum $250 up to your available credit line.

While the best way to avoid interest is to pay off the full balance of your credit card each month, balance transfers are helpful when you’re unable to pay off the entire amount owed. Just be sure to research the introductory APR period, any applicable fees, and any transfer amount limitations.

Most importantly, you’ll want to establish a solid plan to make regular payments on the balance once it’s transferred.

Compassionate Creditors
Credit card companies sometimes will lower your interest rate if you simply ask. Some may give lower short-term promotional rates, while others may reduce your annual percentage rate. Either way, you could benefit.

Call the Pros
There are a variety of consumer credit counseling organizations that can help you design a plan to work your way out of credit card debt. Look online for an organization that will provide this service free of charge. Be wary, meanwhile, of an organization that offers to help eliminate debt easily for a fee. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.

1Introductory Rate: 0% introductory Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is valid on purchases and balance transfers for 12 billing cycles from date of account opening; after that the APR for purchases, and balance transfers will be based on your creditworthiness (between 14.65% and 21.00% APR) and will vary based on the prime rate. The APR for cash advances will vary based on your creditworthiness (between 14.65% and 21.00% APR) and will vary based on the prime rate. Balance transfers can be conducted from the minimum $250 up to your available credit line. The transaction fee for cash advances and cash equivalent transactions is the greater of $4 or 4% of the transaction. Foreign transaction fee is 1% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. Rates apply to new accounts only and are accurate as of January 8, 2019. Subject to credit approval. Additional limitations, terms and conditions may apply.

2Bonus: Open a new Arvest Personal Credit Card to qualify for the one-time bonus of up to $100 after spending $500 on eligible purchases within the first (3) billing cycles of account opening. $100 bonus is awarded as 10,000 rewards points in the Arvest Flex Rewards™ program. Arvest Flex Rewards™ is a program where you can earn one point for every $1 you spend using your Arvest Credit Card. Eligible purchases can be made by the primary cardholder or any additional cardholders on a single Card Account. Limit one 10,000 points bonus per Card Account. Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, convenience check transactions, purchases of traveler’s checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards or purchases of other cash equivalents. Bonus points will be applied to your account within three billing cycles after your qualifying purchase. To be eligible for the $100 bonus offer, the Card Account must be open and not in default as of the date the bonus points are applied. For complete details, ask an Arvest associate or go to arvest.com/bonus. Offer valid from January 1 through December 31, 2019.

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The views of this article are for general information use only. Please contact and speak with a subject expert or your banker when specific advice is needed.

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