There’s no getting around it: dealing with credit card debt can get ugly — fast. No matter what your reason was for getting into debt (family emergency, job loss, etc.), you’ll need to pay that debt off sooner or later. That’s why today, we’re going to walk you through the process of getting rid of that pesky credit card debt once and for all. By the time we’re done here, you’ll be armed with all the knowledge and tactics you need to pull yourself out of credit card debt once and for all.
- Start With One Card
If you’re currently dealing with a variety of debts on a few different accounts, it’s going to be an uphill battle to get rid off those debts. That’s why it may be in your best interest to give yourself small victories along the way. The idea of minor victories may not be possible when it comes to paying off debt, but you can get pretty close by wiping out the debt on a single card.
If you’re comfortable setting a temporary short-term goal that will help you feel like you’re making real progress when it comes to managing your balances, then focus on trying to pay one card off completely. Use as much cash as you can afford to pay off the card with the lowest current balance. It’s important to note that this approach will likely mean that you’re stuck paying the monthly minimum amounts on your other cards while you pay off the card with the lowest balance.
Of course, that’s the approach you should adopt only if your priority is simply removing a card from the equation forever. If you’re more interested in raising your credit score, you should instead focus on the card with the largest utilization rate. If you’re not familiar with the term, a utilization rate is just when you take your specific balance and divide it by that particular card’s limit.
Because your score takes a major hit when you’ve used up more than 20 percent of the available balance, forcing that utilization rate to drop by 20 percent will have a noticeable impact on your credit score. Finally, if all you’re interested in right now is paying less when it comes to interest, then you can focus on taking care of the card that carries the largest rate of interest before you deal with your other cards. At the end of the day, it’s all about choosing a plan that aligns with your concerns and serves your interests.
- Ask Creditors For Lower Interest Rates
Alright, so this won’t always work, but that doesn’t mean it’s a waste of time either. There are certain circumstances where a single phone call to the issuer of your card (otherwise known as your creditor) can help you get a significantly reduced interest rate — but that’s only when you meet the condition of having good credit (anything lower than a 700 won’t cut it), and you have to already be both a long-term customer and someone who’s made plenty payments on time in the past.
If those conditions are met, there’s a strong chance you can get a percentage point or two taken away, which could save you quite a pretty penny every year. If you’ve been offered a lower rate by another creditor, make sure to share that info with your creditor. There’s a slight chance that they’ll end up matching the interest rate.
- Transfer Your Balance
Without a doubt, one of the most appealing potential solutions when it comes to dealing with credit card debt is to move your debt from a card that has a high rate of interest to a card with a significantly lower rate of interest. And to be fair, this can often be the right move. You can save hundreds to thousands of dollars a year doing this.
But it’s important to be wary whenever you decide to consider this process. The only time you should actually transfer a balance is if you’re committed to paying it all off within that low introductory rate of interest window that you’re getting from the new card. These are usually between 12 to 18 months after that first billing cycle ends.
If you’re not sure whether or not you’ll be able to make your monthly payments on time, be advised that your interest rates could end up going up even more. You certainly should avoid making any purchases with that new card, because more often than not the low interest rate doesn’t apply to those cards. Beyond that, you should know that you’ll likely be charged a balance-transfer fee, which is typically three to four percent.
- Leverage Peer-To-Peer Lenders
Ideally, we’d live in a world where the average person could pay their credit card debt completely and be free from debt instantly. But for most people, that’s simply not a possibility. That’s why for some people, taking money from another lender to pay off your card can be a useful tactic to get rid of their debt.
These lenders tend to offer loans with unyielding fixed interest rates that can end up being 20 to 30 percent lower than the average credit card, essentially saving you plenty of money in interest on your debt. If you have a steady job and a decent credit score, you might qualify to make loan requests for as much as $25,000.
How are you planning to get out of credit card debt this year?