For this post, we’ve teamed up with our partners at Fairstone
Stuck in a cycle of minimum payments? With accruing compound interest, it can be challenging to clear a credit card balance without consistent effort and dedication. For the best tips on how to pay off a credit card fast, we’ve turned to our friends at Fairstone.
If you want to pay off a credit card fast, you need to commit to the payments. This may sound like a no-brainer, but because of the way credit cards are designed, it’s simple to fall behind on making full payments.
Here Are Our 4 Steps To Pay Off A Credit Card Fast:
1. Calculate How Much Money You Need To Pay
The trouble with credit cards is that your bill often shows the minimum payment (only a small percentage of the balance) or the full amount owing on the card. If you want to pay more than the minimum but you can’t afford to pay off the card in full, you need to come up with a payment plan yourself. Use a credit card payment calculator to determine how much money you need to put toward your credit card to pay it off in a timeframe that works for you. You may be shocked to realize how long it would take you to pay off the card if you continue making only minimum payments.
2. Find The Room In Your Budget
Now that you know how much you want to pay, take a look at your budget to find the money. Of course, you’ll need to keep up with other debt repayments and household bills, but if you’re able to reduce spending in budget categories like entertainment, food or gas, the money you save can be put down on your credit card. Here are some ideas to help you make room in your budget:
- Use coupons and compare flyers to reduce grocery costs
- Make a weekly meal plan and use that to create your grocery list, reducing food waste
- Only order takeout if you can find a coupon
- Walk or ride a bike rather than always thinking to drive somewhere first
- Try making DIY gifts for friends and family
3. Automate Your Payment Regimen
Once you know how much money you’re able to pay on your credit card, set up automated payments from your bank account. If you automate your payments, there’s no chance you’ll accidentally forget to pay your card one month and face higher interest charges than you would have otherwise. When it comes to paying off debt, automation can be your best friend.
Tip: Set up automated payments on the day you get paid – the money will be transferred to your credit card before you have a chance to spend it
4. Consolidate Multiple Cards
If you have more than one credit card with a balance owing, it may be best to consolidate your credit card debt and start with a clean slate. Consolidation involves moving the balance of your debts to a single loan or other credit product, like a line of credit. Ideally, you’ll be moving to a lower interest rate or a more structured payment plan that is simpler to pay off. This immediately clears the balance of your credit card(s) and any other outstanding debts to zero and allows you to focus on paying back the consolidation loan.
What’s Wrong With Making Minimum Payments?
While minimum payments can be convenient when you have a cash-short month, they don’t help you get on top of your debt. In fact, making minimum payments can easily do the opposite, and dig you further into debt instead. With each credit card statement, you are shown a ‘minimum payment’ – typically a fixed amount (for example, $20 or $25) or a percentage of your balance owing (1% or 3%). However, this amount likely does not come close to paying off your credit card and can easily lead you astray.
For example, on a $300 credit card bill you may only need to pay $30. This leaves the remaining balance, $270, collecting interest. If you spend another $300 the next month, bringing your total debt owing to $570 + interest, your bill may show a required payment of $60, but again you’re coming nowhere close to clearing the credit card balance. This cycle can easily continue unchecked until your credit card bill needs immediate attention.
With these four steps, you can focus on paying off your credit card bills and feel the relief of saying goodbye to cycles of ongoing debt. If you’re interested in a debt consolidation loan, find out how much you could qualify for and what your payments might be with Fairstone’s instant quote. It’s quick, secure and obligation-free.