The “Devil” is often depicted as a horrifying-looking monster with cloven hooves, horns and a tail – but truth be told if there was a Devil, he would more likely appear as a nice-looking, well-dressed, slick-talking salesman.

What has this to do with credit cards?

Consider all the wonderful incentives being offered by credit card companies these days, designed to lure in new customers – and get them hooked for life (and beyond). Reward points, frequent-flyer miles, cash back and more are being used aggressively – particularly since Congress, in a rare instance of doing something to actually help consumers, passed that CARD Act, limiting the amount of fees these companies can charge.

But, as the old adage goes, “the Devil is in the details.” These “rewards” credit cards usually carry a higher interest rate as well as fees that are hidden in the fine print. It’s important to read the terms and agreement carefully. Keep in mind that if you are carrying a balance, the interest will most likely negate any benefits of the “rewards.

Now, if you are already in trouble with credit cards and are looking for a way out, the first step is to acknowledge the situation. Once you have taken ownership of the problem, it’s time to sit down and crunch the numbers. What is your income vs. outgo? This can be painful, but sitting down and itemizing every single cent and looking at exactly where it is going can give you a much clearer picture of where you are, financially – making it easier to determine where you need to go.

Once you have a handle on this and know exactly what you can pay every month, the next step is to contact your creditors and negotiate a payment plan. You may want to consider hiring a professional negotiator. When it comes to the kind of unsecured debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy, those who hold this debt would rather receive something rather than nothing – and are thus often willing to negotiate some type of settlement. In many cases, if you can demonstrate hardship and that you are making a good-faith effort to meet your obligations, a creditor will be willing to reduce the interest rate – or even accept less than the total of what is owed.

The financial and legal professionals at Trident are in a strong position to assist you in negotiating with your creditors as well as coming up with a realistic payment plan that can get you free of your unsecured debts within eighteen to twenty-four months. Do you owe more than $30,000 in credit card or medical debt? Can you raise a lump sum equal to 50-65% of this amount in the next year and a half? Can you afford monthly payments equal to 4% of the outstanding balance? If so, you may qualify for  our program. Call Stephen T. Craig at Trident today for a consultation.