Credit cards let you spend more money than you have. This makes them useful, but may leave you vulnerable or even insolvent.

If you’re a consumer living and working in Kansas, chances are you have credit card debt, which can have a way of growing overnight that your savings account simply does not. According to Experian, the average American owns four credit cards, with Kansas residents, claiming about $5,063 in total credit card debt.

On the one hand, that’s slightly lower than the U.S average of $5,315. On the other hand, five grand in unsecured debt is a heavy burden for many consumers; not to mention, the crippling effect compound interest can have on one’s accounts.

Sometimes, overcoming credit card debt takes outside aid from trusted professionals with experience managing consumer debt.

Debt Relief Options for Kansas Residents

One way to deal with credit card debt is finding a nonprofit credit counseling agency that offers debt management plans. InCharge Debt Solutions is a nonprofit credit counseling service that can help Kansas residents with a debt management program.

A DMP can help you manage your debts by lowering the interest rate on credit cards and reducing your monthly payments to affordable levels. By opting into the plan, you can cut interest on your credit cards to as low as 8%, sometimes even lower.

There is no minimum credit score needed to apply, so you don’t need to worry about a poor credit history obstructing your shot at debt relief. If a DMP isn’t the appropriate answer for your situation, a certified credit counselor can walk you through some other options. There is more than one solution to getting rid of credit card debt.

Here are a few other options to consider:

Debt Consolidation Loan These loans are a good option for consumers with credit scores on the good-to-excellent end. Essentially, a debt consolidation loan is a personal loan that borrowers can use to pay off debt. Ideally, your new loan comes with a much lower interest rate than what you pay on your credit cards. Consolidating your unsecured debts can simplify the bill paying process and minimize the likelihood of suffering late fees.

Debt Settlement  This process lets borrowers pay back less than what they owe and is usually restricted to unsecured debts. Many debt settlement companies promise to reduce a borrower’s debt by up to 50%. However, the settlement process can drag on for 2-3 years as the debt settlement company attempts to negotiate a reduction with your creditors. Meanwhile, late fees continue to accrue and cut into your potential savings. The debt settlement company will charge a fee for its services, as well. Debt settlement is considered a severe negative on your credit report and stays there for seven years.

Bankruptcy  Some borrowers may have debts that require more extreme measures. Bankruptcy isn’t the end of the line for a consumer; it is actually a reset that clears your name of the vast majority of your debts. Clean slates do, however, come with consequences, Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for the next 7-10 years and will make it difficult to qualify for credit for some time.

Kansas Debt Resources

COVID-19 has left many Kansans desperate for financial assistance. This is true across a variety of income levels, but low-income earners have taken the hardest hit. Here are some programs offering financial, nutritional, and employment aid to residents of Kansas.

Child Care Subsidy Program: This program offers financial assistance for low-income families with children under the age of 13. Children between the ages of 13 and 18 may also qualify if they cannot adequately provide self-care.

Kansas Share the Warmth: This program is run by the Salvation Army. It offers assistance with utility bills for Kansas families living below 200% of the poverty limit.

Kancare (SCHIP): This is a Medicaid program offering low-cost healthcare for uninsured or underinsured Kansas residents under 19. The program covers medical check-ups, vaccinations, and medications among other services. Eligibility depends on income and household size. A household of three must earn under $52,346 to qualify.

Kansas Food Bank: This is the main food bank of Kansas. It distributes food to hunger-relief agencies located throughout the state. It runs several programs aimed at providing low-income families nutritional assistance, such as Food 4 Kids and Rural Delivery. Head to their website to learn more about the local agencies in your area.

Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP):  This is a federally backed program offering Kansas families a one time payment to help cover the cost of utilities.

Kansas Successful Families Program: This is Kansas’ state-run leg of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). It offers financial and employment assistance for low-income families. Benefit amounts vary by county and family size. To receive assistance, adults must be involved in work-related activities, unless one is needed at home to care for a child under 2 months of age or a disabled family member.

KanVet Resources for Veterans: This site acts as a one-stop-shop for veterans in need of aid. It pulls a variety of veteran aid programs offered throughout the state into one location, making it easier for residents to navigate across agency websites.

United Way: This website can help Kansas residents locate several assistance programs offered in their area. You can filter by city, zip or county and you will be greeted with a list of resources for food, financial and housing assistance.

Kansas Debt Statistics

The convenience of swiping plastic instead of handing over cash is often a slippery slope leading to a pile of debt, and many Kansans know this all too well. Understanding the condition of the economy you live and work in can help you make wiser financial decisions. At the very least, it can be useful to compare our lot with that of our neighbors. Here are some stats depicting the state of the economy of Kansas.

  • According to ChamberofCommerce.org, Kansas is the 25th richest state in the union. How’s that for Middle America?
  • Kansas has a real per capita GDP of $51,449
  • The top 5% of earners in Kansas make an average of $189,252.
  • Around 11% of Kansans live under the federal poverty limit.
  • State spending per capita sits at $5,345, This represents the amount a state spends on its citizens.
  • Kansas has an unemployment rate of 4.7%, slightly lower than the national average of 6.3%.

Sources

N.A. (2020, December) Economy at a Glance, Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.ks.htm

N.A. (2018) How Rich Is Each State? Retrieved from https://www.chamberofcommerce.org/how-rich-is-each-us-state/

Stolba, S. (2021, January 4th) Experian 2020 Consumer Credit Review. Retrieved from https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/consumer-credit-review/

Resendiz, J. (2021, February 11) Average Credit Card Debt in America: 2021. Retrieved from https://www.valuepenguin.com/average-credit-card-debt#by-region