Finances are one of those things in life where everyone has their own methods. Balancing and paying off credit card debt is no different.
Paying off credit card debt should take priority because it can affect many things and potentially inhibit you from achieving some important goals. Depending on the size of your debt, it can lower your credit score. If kept unchecked, credit card debt can also make a substantial dent in your monthly budget as you struggle to make payments.
When a borrower chooses to prioritize getting out of debt, the path they take will depend heavily on how much debt they’ve accumulated, their income level, family size, and other relevant situations. That being said, there are tried-and-true options for reducing credit card debt to zero that will work in most cases.
This approach is probably one of the most well-known and is relatively straightforward to use.
While making the minimum payments on all your credit cards, take as much money as you can and throw it at your card with the smallest balance. Continue this until the card is ultimately paid off. Then take all the money you were using to pay off that card and begin using it to pay off the card with the next smallest balance. Your credit cards will be paid off in no time!
Using a balance transfer to assist in paying off your credit cards can be useful. This technique consists of transferring debt on a card with a high APR to a card with a lower one, effectively paying off one card and compiling your debt together, allowing you to pay it off quicker due to the lower interest.
Be careful when using this method, however. Plan to not use the card you transferred the balance from any longer. Also, expect a higher monthly payment on the credit card you shifted the balance to.
Similar to the Snowball method, the Avalanche method utilizes focusing on paying off one credit card at a time. The difference between the two methods is that the Avalanche method requires paying as much money as you can towards the card with the highest APR first while making regular minimum payments to all of your other credit cards.
Once you’ve paid off the card with the highest APR, take all of the money you were putting towards that card and begin paying off the card with the next highest APR. The benefit of this method is paying less overall by doing away with the highest APR’s first.
Debt settlement is a good option if you’re prepared to pay off the entire debt at once.
If you have some money set aside and your goal is to pay off your credit cards, contacting your creditor can get your debt reduced sometimes by half or more!
There are companies who can assist you with negotiations; however, they often charge hefty fees. Often, making the call yourself to the credit card company and offering a settlement will work just as well.
If you find yourself in a position where you are falling behind on credit card payments and your debt is severely impacting your and your family’s lives, bankruptcy may be an option to consider. However, it would be best if you never resorted to filing for bankruptcy until other options have been exhausted first. Bankruptcy will seriously and negatively impact your credit health for 7-10 years, which can prevent you from purchasing or refinancing a home or car, impact your hiring for a new job, and make it difficult to open any new lines of credit.