Aussies urged to call lenders if struggling with credit card debt

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AUSTRALIA’S credit card debt is through the roof, but picking up the phone can either save your bacon or ruin you. Make the right call.

AUSTRALIA’S plastic problem was laid bare by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), when it announced recently our national credit card debt has reached $45 billion. Experts say that people in debt need to know they have options and are not alone.

Financial Counselling Australia CEO Fiona Guthrie said people experiencing debt often feel trapped, but they do have options.

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“Debt isn’t easy to address because it’s so stressful,” Ms Guthrie said. “Most of us when faced with these situations are overwhelmed.”

Ms Guthrie said those struggling should avoid balance transfer credit card deals, as they often end up in more debt and steer clear of payday loan products at all costs.

“An option like (payday loans) looks like a fix, but really they’re debt traps,” she said. “They’re anonymous if you apply online, which suits people who fear being judged, but one in six Australians are in credit card debt, so there’s nothing unusual about it.

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