Written by: Nick Bregozzo

If you're struggling with credit card debt and are eager to get out, your very first move should be to get a copy of your credit report. If your credit report has an error or two on it, you will have a much harder time getting out of debt because this will affect your ability to get a consolidation loan and you won't get the really attractive low rate introductory offers that will help you pay off debts much more quickly.

Below are some of the best tactics to get out of credit card debt:

1. Ask you bank to drop your rate
Why not ask your bank or finance provider for a lower interest rate, after all what's the risk? All they can do is say no.

You may be surprised by how cooperative they may be (the larger banks are usually the most cooperative). If you're more desperate, you might want to say something like "I've been a good customer. I dislike having to go through the hassle of transferring the balance to another bank - but I will if that's what it takes to get a lower rate".

If you have a reasonable payment history - chances are excellent they will work with you. Never forget that they hate to lose good customers (especially those who pay their bills on time). Be prepared to do accept a balance transfer right there on the phone but watch out for any traps such as hidden fees and charges

2. Credit Unions
Many credit unions are attempting to open up their membership these days so are aggressively looking for new customers.

3. Home Loan Refinance
If you own a home, tapping into your equity is another good option. On the positive side, you get a quick, low interest rate loan. On the negative side, you're putting your house in jeopardy if you can't make the payments. Used properly, a home loan is a great tool that can help lift you out of debt much more quickly. But if you're just using it to slide deeper into debt, you may lose your house! Be careful to submit one enquiry at a time. Multiple enquiries on a credit report signal to finance providers that you having financial problems.

4. Debt Consolidation Loan
If you are in over their head financially, you may be tempted to seek out a debt consolidation loan because you believe it offers immediate debt relief. In a heartbeat you put your old problems behind you and get on with your life. Unfortunately, you can't borrow your way out of debt. So for far too many, debt consolidation is only a brief stop on the long road to bankruptcy.

Consolidating your debt simply means you'll be replacing multiple debts (usually from several credit cards) with a single larger repayment. This can make sense but there are traps - some obvious and some not so obvious.

First of all, debt consolidation isn't for you unless you have the discipline required to stop using your credit cards after you pay off their balances with your new loan. But there are potential problems:
”¢… …  … If your debt consolidation loan is a long one, you may end up paying more interest over the full term of the loan.
”¢… …  … Some loans may have hidden fees.
”¢… …  … The loan process may require the cancelling of all your credit cards.
”¢… …  … If your credit rating is currently damaged, you may not be able to obtain a good low interest rate debt consolidation loan.
”¢… …  … And the biggest potential problem: You'll end up deeper in debt if you can't cut your spending.

If you do what most people do - pay off the outstanding balances and immediately run the balances on those cards right back up to their old levels or even higher, it's better for you to avoid debt consolidation loans entirely.

If you can, get a copy of your credit file a full two months before you apply for a debt consolidation loan of any kind. This will give you enough time to check it out and clean up any errors it may contain before they can damage your chances of landing the loan you need.