How to pay off credit cards?

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    Jordan Moore
    Jordan Moore

    If you have credit card debt you’re not alone. Nearly half of all adults in the United States carry credit card debt each month, according to a 2023 Bankrate survey.

    Here are four strategies (and some specific resources) to help you pay off your card:

    1. Understand what you’re working with: I know it can be anxiety-inducing, but you gotta look at the numbers. On your computer or a piece of paper, write down the following: How much you owe on each card (plus the interest rate), your monthly expenses, and your monthly income. This will give you an honest picture of how much you owe and how much extra income you have to put toward paying off your card.

    If you don’t have any extra income you likely need to do one of two things: decrease your expenses (here’s a free budgeting tool) or increase your income.

    2. Choose an approach and stick to it: There are two really popular debt pay-off methods.

    Debt snowball: You start by knocking out your smallest debts first, regardless of interest rates. It’s like clearing away the little hurdles first to build momentum and keep you going on your debt. (Scroll to the bottom of this site for the debt avalanche calculator.)

    Debt avalanche: With this one, you tackle debts with the highest interest rates; first, while making minimum payments on the rest. It’s all about saving big bucks on interest in the long run and speeding up your debt payoff. (Scroll to the bottom of this site for the debt avalanche calculator.)

    3. Lower your interest rate: There are two ways you can do this.

    Don’t be afraid to call up your credit card companies and ask if they can lower your interest rates. You’d be surprised how much a friendly chat can save you.

    Here’s a short script: Hi, I’m [Your Name]. I’ve been a loyal customer for [X] years. I’ve noticed that other banks are offering lower interest rates for people with similar credit scores. My current rate is [Insert Current APR], but I’ve seen rates as low as [lower rate] elsewhere. Can you lower my rate to match? While I like your service I’m considering switching over to a card with a lower rate.

    You can also look into transferring your high-interest balances to cards with lower rates (some even offer 0% interest for a set period of time, often about a year) or consolidating your debt into a personal loan. There are card comparison articles like this one to help you find the best card for you.

    4. Put more money toward it: Whenever you get extra cash, like birthday money or a bonus from work, put it towards your credit card debt. The more you pay the sooner it’ll go away.

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StellarFinance, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

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