Tennessee residents may have heard that the Federal Reserve raised interest rates near the end of 2016. This could make it more expensive to repay credit card debt. On average, an American household pays $1,300 a year in credit card interest. However, there are some easy ways in which people can start to reduce their credit card debt. For instance, it may be worthwhile for them to consolidate their debt.

Consolidation allows an individual to combine multiple debts into one monthly payment at a lower interest rate. This can be done by taking out a personal loan or transferring credit card balances to a new card with a lower rate. It may be possible to work with a debt negotiation company to help reduce unsecured debts by as much as 50 percent. A credit counselor might also be helpful in setting up a repayment schedule that creditors will accept.

If all else fails, it may be worthwhile to look into filing for bankruptcy. However, it’s often difficult to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which means that a debtor could still be required to pay a portion or all of the debt owed. Furthermore, a bankruptcy would stay on one’s credit report for several years.

Filing for Chapter 13 may allow an individual to get a fresh financial start. This could encourage an individual to start putting money in the bank or make it easier to repay any debts. An attorney may be able to provide more information about who can qualify for bankruptcy and how an automatic stay might protect a debtor from creditor collection actions. This may put a stop to phone calls, letters or wage garnishments.