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Special report

Take charge of your cards

You've charged it up -- now it's pay-down time. Here are five strategies for slashing your debts while saving hundreds of dollars in fees and interest.

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5 steps to reduce credit card debt
1. Find a card with a better deal
Transferring a balance can save cash, if you know how to read the fine print.
Plus: Step-by-step guide for transferring credit card balances
 
2. Organize due dates to fit your schedule
If your monthly bills overlap, arrange the payment schedule to fit your monthly budget flow and avoid those late-payment fees.
 
3. Make a vow: No more late fees
Credit card issuers are determined to whack you with big penalty fees. Follow these tips and show them who's boss!
 
4. Map out a payoff strategy
Just paying the minimum and little else? If so, you'll be dragging those debts along into 2010! Develop an effective plan for reducing debt. Here's how.
 
5. Keep all your creditors happy
Credit card companies spy on your credit, so always pay those other bills on time. A black mark can trigger higher rates across the board.
 
-- Posted: Jan. 4, 2002
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See Also
7 steps for building financial fitness
7 steps to fixing your credit report
Cures for chronic money problems

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BASICS SERIES
Credit Card Basics
Don't get trapped by card debt. Learn to use it wisely.
How to find the best card
Check your credit report
Finance charges explained
How to ask for a lower rate
Improve credit with a card
How to repair your credit

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