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How to Quickly Crush Credit Card Debt (6 Best Ways)
If you have high credit card balances in 2018, you need to prioritize paying them off as quickly as possible. The reason is that credit card debt is now more expensive than it has ever been in the past, and if that’s not reason enough, here are some more statistics to fuel your desire to get out of debt.
1. Total U.S. revolving debt as of February 2018, which is mostly made up of credit card debt, has reached $1.03 trillion, according to the latest statistics from the Federal Reserve. This is a historic high for our country.
2. Interest rates have already been raised twice in 2018, and the CME FedWatch tool suggests another rate hike is coming later this month.
You’re about to learn the six best ways to pay off high credit card debt, but before we dive in, let’s first look at the most expensive option you’ll want to avoid.
The most expensive credit card relief option
The most expensive credit card relief option is when you only pay the minimum monthly payments. Never just make minimum monthly payments on credit cards because you’ll end up paying the maximum amount in interest. For example, if you have a $15,000 Chase credit card balance and your interest rate is 29%, when you make only minimum payments, you’ll end up paying a total of $45,408 in interest alone, and it would take you over ten years payable out of balance.
1. Debt Snowball Method:
According to new research published by the Harvard Business Review, the debt snowball method of paying off your credit card balances was shown to be the most effective credit card debt relief option in 2018
With the debt snowball method, you pay off the credit card with the lowest balance first. Instantly after the opening credit card balance is paid off in full, your monthly available cash flow will increase. You will then use the extra funds to pay the next smaller bill. Once the second smaller account is paid in full, your available cash flow will increase even more and continue to grow, just like when you make a snowball. Then use all that extra money to pay off the third, smallest bill.
This method works using psychological principles. When a person achieves a goal, like paying off their first credit card debt, the brain releases dopamine and it feels good. And you want more of that good feeling, so you’re motivated to keep paying off each debt one by one. Before you know it, you’ll start to see the light at the end of the tunnel and your drive will be at its peak, and at that point, nothing will stop you!
2. Debt avalanche method
The debt avalanche method focuses on attacking the account that is costing you the most money, which is the account with the highest interest rate. If you like math and numbers, you’re likely to lean towards this route as it makes more sense from a technical standpoint.
Technically speaking, this route will save you more money than the debt snowball method, if you can successfully stick to the plan.
There is much controversy surrounding the argument of which route is more effective, the debt snowball or the avalanche method. Understand both options and, based on your personality type, you will be able to determine which route is best for your situation.
Some people may decide to use a combination of these two options. You could start with the debt snowball method, quickly eliminating your smaller debts that have a balance of $1,000 or less, and then switch to the debt avalanche method to pay off the rest of your balances, but the more cost-effective way.
3. Balance transfer cards:
You can lower credit card interest rates by using a balance transfer card that has no interest for 12-18 months. If you can pay off your balance in full on the balance transfer card during the introductory period when the interest rate is zero, you’ll end up eliminating 100% of your interest and only have to pay the initial transfer card fee of balance
Be sure to keep your credit cards open after you pay them off because when you close a credit card, your credit scores go down.
These cards include upfront fees, which range from 3% to 5% of the balance.
Buy a balance transfer card that includes:
· Low initial fees
· an introductory fee of 18 months
· a zero percent interest rate
4. Home equity line of credit:
A home equity line of credit can be used to pay off high-interest credit card debt, saving you thousands of dollars in interest. Home equity lines of credit have lower interest rates than any other type of bank loan. BankRate.com estimates that the average interest rate on a home equity line of credit is just 5%.
The downside is that you are swapping your unsecured debt for secured debt, and this can be dangerous because if for some reason you don’t make the payments, you could lose your property to credit card debt.
5. Get your lender to lower the interest rate
Don’t forget this next method, because of how simple it is. Sometimes the simple things in life are overlooked.
Call your lender and ask for a supervisor. Remind them how many years you’ve been their customer and how perfect your payment history has been over the years. Now express to them that you are upset that they are charging you such a high interest rate and illustrate an offer from another bank. If your credit score has increased from when you first applied for this credit card, mention that as well.
Do some research and find a credit card company that offers a lower rate, and then you can use them as leverage.
Example: “Capital One offers me a credit card with an 8% interest rate and 1% more than you offer in cash back. I could lower my interest rate so I can stay with your bank ?Also, you will notice that my credit score has increased from what it was when I first applied for a card with your bank two years ago.”
6. Debt Relief Programs:
A consumer credit counseling program can lower your interest rates and get you out of debt in less than five years, without hurting your credit score. All of your credit card debts will be combined into one consolidated monthly payment and the consumer credit counseling company distributes the funds each month to your creditors but at a reduced interest rate. This program has the least effect on credit scores, compared to any other debt relief program.
A debt settlement program should only be used if you have fallen behind on your credit card payments and cannot afford to pay more than the minimum monthly payments. The reason is that this type of program can drastically lower your credit score and lead to negative notations on your credit report. However, if your credit score is already in the doldrums, then at this point you should just focus on getting out of debt as quickly as possible and avoid bankruptcy. Once you are debt free, you can rebuild your credit score.
If you’re looking to file for bankruptcy, debt settlement can be a viable alternative that can get you out of debt in about three years and gives you an affordable monthly payment for all of your unsecured debts.
Need more options to get rid of high credit card balances? Check out this article below.
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