WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WTVD) -- Inflation continues to affect consumers when it comes to credit card debt. A new study by WalletHub shows that debt increased by $67 billion during the last few months.
North Carolina ranks ninth when it comes to the biggest credit card debt increase in the country. Despite the increase in credit card debt, some consumers can pay off their debt.
"I have all this credit card debt, I'm drowning," is how Peter Fabrizi said he felt when it came to his more than $25,000 worth of credit card debt. "Just irresponsible spending you know? You have 10 different credit cards and an Amazon card that we can buy whatever you want."
Fabrizi said home renovations, along with other bad spending habits got him into credit card debt. Despite paying the monthly minimum payment, the interest rates with each card got him deeper into debt.
"Some of them were like 20% and above. All of them were like above 15%."
Fabrizi is not alone as the study by WalletHub shows credit card debt continues to climb, with the average debt per household sitting at nearly $9,000. Fabrizi had enough and started searching for debt relief options. He eventually came across Money Management International.
After sharing his debit information with the non-profit, a plan was devised to start working toward paying off his debt. For him, it helped.
"Dramatically lowered the interest rate, consolidated everything for me, put a freeze on all the accounts and then (I) would just make one monthly payment toward Money Management International and then they would disperse the money to the companies." Slowly Fabrizi saw his credit card debt reduced. "It took time. It definitely wasn't overnight, but it was a huge help."
But all credit card debt relief companies are not created equal. Often scammers pretend they are a legit debt relief service in order to get more money out of you.
When it comes to searching for credit repair and debt relief services, here are the red flags to watch out for according to the Better Business Bureau.
- Don't pay large fees upfront, instead get a written contract detailing your rights and the services performed, along with the total cost to you.
- Don't move forward with a company if you're told to stop paying debts and communicating with creditors.
- Watch out for too good to be true offers, where a big claim is made, without teaching you budget and money management.
As for Fabrizi, his advice is, "Don't be afraid to find help." It took a lot of financial discipline, but he paid off his more than $25,000 worth of credit card debt and also increased his credit score.
"It's amazing it's literally like such a big weight lifted off my shoulders," he added. Besides paying off all that debt, he says he also learned how to not get in debt like that again.
If you're looking for debt relief, all contracts should offer you a three-day right to cancel. Also, make sure you get any guarantees in writing, do your research and be very careful before you pay any money.