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If you are one of the many Malaysians who are struggling with credit card debt, you may be wondering how to get out of this vicious cycle. Credit card debt can be very costly and stressful, especially if you only pay the minimum amount every month or miss payments altogether. Fortunately, there are some strategies that can help you conquer your credit card debt and regain control of your finances. Here are some of them:

1. Target one debt at a time. If you have multiple credit cards with different balances and interest rates, you may feel overwhelmed by how much you owe. A good way to tackle this problem is to focus on one debt at a time, while still making the minimum payments on the others. You can choose to pay off either the smallest debt first (debt snowball method) or the highest interest debt first (debt avalanche method). Both methods can help you reduce your debt faster and save on interest, as well as boost your motivation and confidence as you see your balances go down.

2. Pay more than the minimum amount. Paying only the minimum amount on your credit card bills will take you a long time to clear your debt, and cost you a lot of money in interest. For example, if you have a RM10,000 debt with an 18% interest rate, and you pay RM200 every month, it will take you 94 months (almost 8 years) to pay off your debt, and you will end up paying RM8,720 in interest. However, if you pay RM500 every month, it will take you only 24 months (2 years) to pay off your debt, and you will pay only RM1,920 in interest. Therefore, try to pay as much as you can afford every month, and avoid adding new charges to your cards.

3. Consolidate your debt. Another option to simplify and lower your credit card debt is to consolidate it into one loan with a lower interest rate and a fixed repayment period. You can do this by either transferring your balances to a new credit card with a low or zero interest rate offer (balance transfer), or taking out a personal loan with a lower interest rate than your credit cards. By consolidating your debt, you can save on interest, reduce your monthly payments, and pay off your debt faster. However, be careful not to rack up new debt on your old cards after consolidating them, or you will end up in a worse situation.

4. Seek professional help. If you are struggling to manage your credit card debt on your own, or if you are facing legal action from your creditors, you may need to seek professional help from a reputable agency or organisation. One such organisation is Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK), which offers free financial counselling and debt management services to Malaysians who are in financial distress. AKPK can help you negotiate with your creditors for a lower interest rate and a longer repayment period, as well as provide you with financial education and advice on how to manage your money better.

RELATED: WHO CAN YOU GO TO FOR PERSONAL FINANCIAL HELP IN MALAYSIA?

Credit card debt can be a serious problem if left unchecked, but it is not impossible to overcome. By following these tips and taking action today, you can conquer your credit card debt and achieve financial freedom.

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