Robert Muthumbi says he hasn't bought his kids a Christmas tree in two years and eating out is a rare treat - all in an effort to chip away at 10-thousand dollars in credit-card debt. Robert Muthumbi "I've been really making efforts to pay them down, two or three times more than what the minimum payment that is due." But with interest rates on his cards at 16 and 22 percent, he says he's barely making a dent. For families like the Muthumbis, Consumer Reports recommends transferring the balances to a card with a lower APR. Greg Daugherty Consumer Reports "You can often find cards with very low interest rates, even down to zero, for balance transfers. But look carefully at the terms because they can vary a lot from card to card." You're often charged a balance transfer fee - usually three to four percent up front. And the zero percent or low APR often lasts only 12 to 18 months. Consumer Reports found the Chase Slate card is good for people who can pay off the balance quickly. It has zero interest for 15 months and no transfer fees in the first 60 days. Greg Daugherty "But if you calculate that you won't be able to pay off your debt that quickly, you're better off with a card with a low, fixed interest rate." Consumer Reports found one of the best such credit cards is the PenFed Promise. It currently has a low APR of 4.99 percent on transfers made before the end of the year and has no balance transfer fee. Be aware you need to be a member of the PenFed credit union, which can cost 15 dollars. Robert with credit cards Robert with children If Robert does transfer his balances, Consumer Reports recommends he try to get another card for any new purchases. He'll need to pay that one off in full every month to avoid going deeper in debt. ."
More On Your Side Stories
- Back-to-school shopping is the second biggest spending spree of the year, according to the National Retail Federation.
- 44 children died last year from heat stroke inside cars.
- Can you get away with spending less on laundry detergent?
- Consumer Reports tested a 20-dollar device that promises to unclog drains without caustic chemicals or a costly plumber visit.
- Who doesn't love ice cream, especially in the summer?
- a just-released Consumer Reports' survey found that 59 percent of people look for foods labeled "natural" when they shop. But Consumer Reports says it's essentially meaningless claim.
- With grilling season heating up, all kinds of gadgets promise to take your grill to a new level.
- Flying with a carry-on bag can save you fifty dollars or more per trip. No wonder sales are up.
- Summer is salad time, and supermarkets have shelf after shelf of salad dressings.
- If you think there's no such thing as free lunch, think again. There are lots of products you can get online without having to pay a cent.