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Peer-to-peer lending a scary solution to credit card debt

Americans are no strangers to credit card debt. In fact, about 40 percent of families are unable to make their credit payments. Ever since credit cards were first introduced to the general public, they have been a tantalizing pit that families in Kentucky often fall into, but a new solution is being presenting that could do more harm than good: peer-to-peer lending.

The concept itself is rather simple. Those in debt are connected with an investor, who agrees to lend them funds at a lower rate than their current debt carries. While this is an easy way to consolidate debt, it could lead to more trouble. Sometimes, “that lower rate” is only a fraction of a percent less. Additionally, borrowing to get out of debt rarely ends well.

This does not mean those who are in deep debt cannot find a way out. One of the best ways to do so is to go through credit counseling. In addition to learning how to live on your means without credit cards, counselors can also work with creditors to reduce interest rates. However, it is important to find a non-profit counselor, as a for-profit one may charge an outrageous fee for their services.

If the debt is too great and creditors refuse to budge on their rates, filing for bankruptcy is also an option. There are two main types for consumers. Chapter 7 liquidates your assets to cover what debt it can, and the rest is wiped away to give the debtor a new start. Chapter 13, on the other hand, restructures debt to be paid over a longer period of time. A bankruptcy attorney may be able to further explain available options and provide other counsel on the matter.

Source: Bloomberg Business, “Should You Cut Your Credit Card Debt With a Peer-to-Peer Loan?” Ben Steverman, Oct. 15, 2015

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