Thanks to my job as a Fool writer, I receive lots of email. I hear from disgruntled readers and, well, gruntled ones. I also receive lots of press releases, many of them of little interest. But sometimes, word of useful services makes its way through the pile of messages. It happened just recently, in fact.
The nice folks at CreditCardClients.com told me about a "Savings Agent." Here's what they said about it:
The Savings Agent is a free, invaluable tool that helps consumers choose the most appropriate and cost-effective credit card according to their personal credit profile to ultimately help them get out of credit card debt. It takes all of the effort out of comparing and contrasting credit card offers and can be used start to finish in less than 5 minutes.
They also shared some findings, based on data from people who used the service to find cards that better suit their debt profile and needs:
- "57% of users plan to pay off their debt quickly and carry an average of $5,240 dollars in debt." For this group, on average, the recommended credit cards offered savings of about $1,000 over two years.
- "32% of users carry a high but steady amount of debt with an average balance of $4,354 and do not regularly use the card for new purchases." The recommended cards for these folks offered average savings of more than $1,600 over two years.
- "11% of users increase their credit card debt every month and carry an average balance of $3,255." For them, better cards can save them nearly $2,000 over two years.
I decided to give the service a whirl, but I ran into trouble because of my profile. Since I pay off my bill each month, cards with lower interest rates didn't benefit me much. So the service recommended I look into the recommended cards with solid rewards.
I went back again to the service, this time disguised in a cloak. I pretended that I had an AARP Platinum Visa card. It asked me to enter my average debt load on my card and to enter my interest rate. (It automatically suggested an annual percentage rate of 16.24% for interest.) I entered a debt load of $4,000, an annual fee of $20, and an interest rate of 18%. It then wanted to know whether I make additional purchases on the card. I said I charge about $1,000 per month and pay $1,100 per month. Then came some more questions. I said I hadn't declared bankruptcy lately, had an excellent credit history, and didn't know my credit score.
The agent then kicked out its results: The "Discover More" card was recommended, based on my profile, and I was told to expect to save about $900 over one year and $1,500 over two. Not bad!
The service is fairly extensive in its coverage. You'll find Visa, MasterCard
What to do
Go ahead and try the service out, especially if you're saddled with credit card debt. If you are, know that your situation isn't hopeless. There have been many "happy dances" on our credit card discussion board among people who have conquered their debts, and I've written about them here. (One Fool community member paid off nearly $125,000 in debt over seven years!) Our Credit Cards and Consumer Debt board is a great place to find inspiration, advice, and folks in general cheering you on.
You can also benefit from some time spent in our Credit Center, which offers tips on how to make the most of your credit rating and how to dig out of debt. We'll also help you find your credit score, if you don't know what it is.
Once you do dig out of credit card debt -- or if you're already debt-free -- be sure you're saving and investing for your future. It can be as simple as investing in a broad-market index fund, such as one based on the S&P 500.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. She was tickled to learn recently about a four-story public bathroom in Chongqing, China, that features more than 1,000 toilets and is drawing tourists. MasterCard is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. Try any one of our investing services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.