Credit Cards and Debt Interview with KABC Radio Los Angeles
CreditCards.com Senior Industry Analyst Matt Schulz spoke on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 with Doug McIntyre of KABC Radio Los Angeles about credit cards and debt. The interview and transcript are below.
Doug McIntyre: Senior Analyst with CreditCards.com and we need Matt Schulz’s help because sometimes in the holiday season people go a little nuts with their money. Matt how are you doing? Happy holidays.
Matt Schulz: I’m great. Happy holidays to you as well.
McIntyre: Well thank you so much. I think that during the Christmas time people do kind of cast caution to the wind in terms of finances but of course money is a year round issue and paying off debt is a popular New Year’s Resolution. And I know you have got some good tips. What would you say by way of advice to folks on that issue?
Schulz: One important thing that people may not realize is that they can call their credit issuer and ask for a lower interest rate. People might be surprised at how often this works. We did a survey that found that while only about one and four card holders had ever asked about two-thirds of those who had asked were successful.
McIntyre: That is amazing. I had no idea. It never occurred to be that you would be able to have the cojones to call up your company and ask for a lower rate. I guess what is the expression? You can negotiate anything. But I’m shocked that a quarter of the population has even thought to try it.
Schulz: Well and I’ve been trying to spread the word about that. And the reality is it is such a competitive credit card market place that people have much more power right now then they think that they do.
McIntyre: Interesting. So that is one option for paying off debt is to try to get a lower interest rate. I know you have also written about applying for a balance transfer. Tell us what that involves.
Schulz: Yeah. There are lots of cards out there that are offering a 0 percent interest rate if you make a balance transfer to that new card. And one of the best ones out there is the Slate card from Chase which offers no interest on balance transfers or purchases for 15 months and no transfer fee as long as you do it within 60 days of getting the card. And that is important because that transfer fee can be 3 or 4 percent of that transferred balance. So that is a big deal.
McIntyre: And also I know part of your advice is to just kind of go back to basics and have people ask how in the world did I get into financial trouble in the first place? What is your approach on that?
Schulz: It is really about knowing yourself and whether you are in this because of a short term crunch like a medical emergency or joblessness or if you are just someone who has trouble handling credit. And if you know that then you can really start to lay the ground work of how to attack that debt.
McIntyre: Now do you think people are reverting – we’re talking by the way with Matt Schulz. He is an analyst with CreditCards.com. Matt do you think that people are kind of forgetting about how rough the recession was and maybe reverting to bad habits because the memories of the tough times are fading a little bit?
Schulz: We haven’t really seen any indication of that. Even though credit card debt is still growing, we haven’t seen late payments increase, we haven’t seen bankruptcy’s increase. In fact we have seen a slight uptake in people who are paying off the balances in full at the end of every month which is great news.
McIntyre: Well and of course we have been talking about the anemic recovery for several years now but I mean has it got to the point I know that unemployment has dipped down close to 5, has it gotten to the point where it seems like the recovery actually is resembles other recoveries in the past. We really shouldn’t label it anemic?
Schulz: Well at least from a credit card standpoint we have not seen much anemia because we have seen balances increasing pretty steadily over the last few years and all that bad stuff that can come with that we have not seen. And that does not mean that we are not approaching a tipping point fairly soon which we may or may not be but as of right now people seem to have things under control.
McIntyre: All right. Matt Schulz, analyst with CreditCards.com. Thanks for your help on this and you have a wonderful New Year’s.
Schulz: You too. Thanks.
McIntyre: All right take care.