Getting rid of credit card debt can seem like an overwhelming task—especially if you have multiple credit cards. But if you’re ready to be free of credit card debt once and for all, some of the following tips can help:
Make more than the minimum payment
You can get stuck in what seems like an endless cycle if you’re making just the minimum payments each month, especially if you have a high interest rate and/or high balance. Because most of a minimum payment will apply towards the interest, rather than the principal, it will seem like your debt barely budges. Although making just the minimum payment is all that is required, and will stop other negative consequences of not paying at all (such as judgments and wage garnishment), it usually isn’t effective for completely paying off credit card debt.
Transfer your balance to a lower APR card
If your credit score qualifies you for a lower APR card that will allow you to transfer your balance, this can help you pay off your debt faster, especially if you make your payments in larger chunks. With a low or zero-percent introductory offer, you apply more of your payments towards your principal balance, rather than the interest charges. You will need to consider all of the terms and conditions of the new card before deciding if this is the right move for you.
Consolidate your debt
If you have several credit card payments to make each month, consolidating the balances from each card onto one larger credit card can make your credit card much easier to manage. With just one monthly credit card payment to worry about each month, your credit card debt can be easier to tackle.
Pick a debt repayment method
Balance transfer and debt consolidation isn’t always feasible if your credit score isn’t good enough to open up a card with a high credit line, or with a low APR. If you have multiple credit cards you’re trying to pay off, you can try one of two popular methods: pay them off in order from smallest to largest balance, or from higher interest rate to lower interest rate.
Pick the method that works best for you. For some people, they feel a sense of accomplishment by being able to pay off a card completely, and if you feel this would motivate you more, then start with the smallest balance and work your way up. If saving money is a primary concern, however, you might be better off tackling the higher interest cards first. Even better if your higher interest rate card happens to be the one of the bigger balance!
Once you pay off one card completely, use the money you were putting towards the balance each month, and add it to the next credit card—on top of what you were paying for that one as well. This is often referred to as a debt snowball. So if you were making 50-dollar payments for one card every month and you pay it off, start making 100-dollar payments towards the next credit card you want to pay off.
Stop charging on them
If you haven’t already, stop charging on your credit cards as soon as you have the available credit to do so. If you have a lot of credit card debt you’re trying to get rid of, but you charge something as soon as you make some progress, it will be very difficult to pay it off completely.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.