Committing yourself to a strategy is the key to getting out of credit card debt fast. When you stick to your goal, your commitment translates into an overarching lifestyle where you no longer have to concern yourself with tackling your credit card payments every month.
We can’t make your monthly credit card payments for you (actually, we kind of can with a personal loan), but we can show you how to get out of credit card debt—fast! Keep reading to learn about the top four ways to pay off your credit cards in the quickest manner possible.
Double Your Payment Amount
The number one credit-card-debt mistake is making only the minimum payment each month. If you have a $350 balance on a credit card with a 21-percent annual interest rate, and you make a minimum payment of only $20 each month, it will take you 22 months to pay it off. That’s almost two years. If you double your payment to $40, you’ll have the card paid off in only 10 months. That’s less than half the time.
This strategy becomes even more valuable when you apply it to even bigger balances. Say you are making the minimum $90 payment on a card with a $2,750 balance and a 21 percent interest rate: You’ll find yourself making payments for the next 45 months (or 3.75 years). Yet, if you double the monthly payment, you’ll be out of debt in only 18 months (1.5 years). Not only are you getting out of debt faster, but you’re also spending less on the total interest paid. For example, if it takes you 3.75 years to pay off the $2,750 card, you’ll pay $1,219 in interest. By doubling your monthly payment amount, you have slashed the total interest paid to only $477—a savings of $742.
Tackle One Card at a Time
Tackling the card with the lowest balance is the fastest way to meet your goal of getting out of credit card debt. As you pay off each card, you become even more motivated to pay off the next.
Some people start by tackling the card with the highest interest rate. This reduces the total amount of interest you’ll pay on the card; but if it’s not the card with the lowest balance, this method doesn’t get you out of debt on each card as quickly as possible—and that is our main goal here. Keep in mind that while tackling the card with the lowest balance, you still have to make minimum payments on all other cards.
Transfer Your Balances
One of the hardest reasons to get out of credit card debt is because of interest. For example, you’re making your monthly payments, but your balance still continues to grow. If you can stop the interest from compounding, it’s much easier to get out of credit card debt fast. You can do this by transferring your balances to a card that offers a zero percent interest rate for a certain introductory period. For this strategy to be of value, you must commit to paying off the new card’s balance within the introductory period, which is usually six to 18 months. Can’t qualify for a card with a zero percent introductory period? If you can at least transfer your balances to a card with an overall lower annual interest rate, you can still shed that debt faster.
Consolidate Your Debt
Getting out of credit card debt is a little challenging when you have multiple cards. You get in the habit of telling yourself that as long as you make the minimum payment on each card, you’re good to go. Basically, you’re just working hard to tread water. Yet, when you consolidate all of the cards, it’s much easier to focus your attention and commitment to make progress on paying off a single monthly balance. You can easily consolidate your credit card debt with a personal loan. Visit your local First United office to inquire about a personal loan with a competitive interest rate.
The tips and tricks outlined above only work if you truly commit to them. You can take advantage of the ones that complement your financial and personal preferences to make it as simple as possible to get out of credit card debt fast.