How to curb credit card debt now, before interest rates rise again

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With credit card debt balances in the U.S. climbing, you might want to rethink your credit card strategy ahead of a possible recession.

That’s because credit card debt is up 13% since last year, and that debt will only get more expensive as more interest rate hikes are expected later this year. Here’s a look at what you can do, as recommended to CNBC Make It by certified financial planners:

1. Pay down your credit card debt now

“This should be a top priority regardless of where we are in an economic cycle, but very important in times of high inflation and potential economic downturns,” says Kendall Clayborne, certified financial planner at SoFi.

That’s because outstanding balances tend to rise with interest rate hikes. Over the past few months, credit card interest rates have climbed from just over 16% to 17.42%, but that could be closer to 19% by the end of the year, according to Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate.com.

2. Call your credit card company and ask for a lower rate

3. Consider a credit card balance transfer

4. Get a cash-back card if you aren’t traveling much

The rewards for travel cards typically have good redemption rates, but that might not be worth it if you don’t plan to travel much in the next year. Plus, they typically come with annual fees.

If you’re focused on making ends meet, a cash-back rewards card might be a better option. These cards don’t have a lot of perks, but they typically offer 2% – 5% cash-back on spending on essential shopping categories like groceries or gas. These cards are a great way to offset some of the costs of inflation.

5. Do a subscription audit of your credit card expenses 

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