Consumers must choose carefully
News from Mackay Daily Mercury:

Paul Clitheroe

PERSONAL loans are going head-to-head with credit cards in the battle for debt consolidation. For consumers facing a raft of options, the trick is to choose carefully. What helps one borrower manage their debt may not be the best option for you. 

Debt consolidation – where you fold several high interest debts into a single lower rate loan, used to be the exclusive domain of personal loans. But these days plenty of credit card providers are pitching at the same market, which has lead to some very appealing balance transfer offers, presently ranging from zero percent interest for 6 months to around 4.99% for the life of the outstanding balance.

However self discipline rather than a low rate could be the key to choosing the debt consolidation option that provides the best value for you.

As a guide, financial researcher Canstar looked at two different debt repayment scenarios where $ 10,000 is paid off over three years using a personal loan charging 10% interest versus a credit card charging 0% for six months and a low rate of 12% thereafter.

If you were to make monthly repayments of around $ 323, the debt would be repaid in three years using either the credit card or personal loan. The key difference is that the total interest charge for the car…………… continues on Mackay Daily Mercury

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Experts disagree on whether rising credit card debt is a good or bad indicator for a state’s economy.

By Charles B. Stockdale, 24/7 Wall St.

Americans cut down their credit card debt by 11 percent last year, compared to 2010, according to a new report by Credit Karma. 24/7 Wall St. looked at the average credit card debt owed by the residents of each state to determine the five states with the most and the least debt as of December 2011.

Credit card debt is a measure of the economy, and some analysts are suggesting that the decrease in the debt is a positive sign. But not all agree. Ken Lin, CEO of Credit Karma, told CNNMoney that the drop in debt is the result of weak consumer confidence, resulting in slower spending, tighter lending on the part of banks and lower credit limits.

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One of the driving factors for states whose residents owe the most in credit card debt is that they are wealthy states. Nine out of the 10 states with the most…………… continues on msnbc.com

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