Credit card debt is an unsecured liability incurred as a result of revolving credit card loans. Borrowers can build up credit card debt by opening multiple credit card accounts with different terms and credit limits.
Are you a big fan of credit cards? Do you want to learn about the best ways to pay off credit card debt?
This article talks about the best strategies you can adopt to pay off credit card debt very fast. Carefully read through!
What is Credit Card Debt?
Investopedia defines credit card debt as an unsecured liability incurred as a result of revolving credit card loans. Borrowers can build up credit card debt by opening multiple credit card accounts with different terms and credit limits.
Credit bureaus will report and track all of a borrower’s credit card accounts. Credit card debt typically accounts for the majority of outstanding debt on a borrower’s credit report because these accounts are revolving and remain open indefinitely.
The issuance of credit cards began in the 1950s, and the national debt balance steadily increased as they gained in popularity. Consumers reached for credit cards to cover expenses, and card debt soared after the Bankruptcy Protection Act in 2005 made it more difficult for people to file for bankruptcy.
Credit card debt can negatively impact you in a number of ways such as reducing your credit score, reducing your cash flow, and costing you money on interest charges alone.
In few lines to come, we’ll show you the best strategies to adopt in order to pay off credit card debts fast.
What Causes Credit Card Debt?
People incur credit card debt for a variety of reasons, ranging from emotional spending to actual need-based purchases.
According to the Federal Reserve, Americans have accumulated more than $1 trillion in outstanding credit card debt – a record high. In its annual State of Credit study, Experian reports the average American is carrying a staggering $6,354. Now, the question is, what leads to such a high amount of debt?
As the economy has steadily improved since the Great Recession of 2008, consumers are more relaxed about spending. Many turn to credit cards for things like vacations, shopping, and daily living expenses, feeling confident that there’s a strong possibility of repaying the balance.
2. Lack of an emergency fund
Unexpected expenses, such as a home or car repair, can be crippling. A pay cut, job loss, or temporary disability can all result in income loss, which is easier to manage if you have a financial safety net. However, without an emergency fund, many people are forced to use a credit card to cover these costs.
The average cost for repair and general maintenance for US homes is about $170 per month. This may not seem like a lot, but many first-time homebuyers forget to budget for such expenses and end up stretching their finances to the limits.
3. Medical expenses
The cost of medical care has risen over time, with health insurance companies requiring patients to pay more out of pocket. Credit cards are the only way for some people to pay for expensive but necessary medical procedures.
Divorce can cost up to $20,000 on average in some states, and many spouses must fund their split with a credit card. Furthermore, the financial strain caused by a loss of income can force a family or individual to rely on a credit card.
5. Making only the minimum payment
When interest is taken into account, the minimum payment reduces the outstanding credit card balance by a small amount each month. Continuing to make purchases while only paying the minimum aggravates the situation and creates a perfect storm for credit card debt.
6. Car repairs and maintenance
The financial implications of owning a car are more complex than monthly auto loans and car insurance payments. Before buying a car, ensure you also budget for gas, registration and parking fees, and maintenance and repairs.
Why Credit Card Debt Is So Dangerous
Adopting good financial habits, like budgeting and saving, not only helps you avoid more credit card debt but also gives you the ability to pay off your current outstanding debt for good.
Using credit cards and not paying them off monthly can be harmful to your credit. The major downsides of using credit when you don’t have the cash to pay it off later—besides the high-cost interest—include hurting your credit, straining relationships with family and friends, and ultimately bankruptcy.
Here are a few reasons why you should avoid credit card debt:
1. Credit Discourages Self-Control
The unflinching impulsive buying attitude that mostly results from the confidence in credit cards is one that increases one’s unwillingness to exercise self-control.
An impulsive purchasing attitude can have a negative impact on other aspects of your life, such as self-esteem, substance abuse, and interpersonal relationships. Yes, exercising restraint is difficult and boring, but it also has many benefits and advantages, such as the ability to achieve financial goals, such as purchasing a home.
2. You don’t pay what you can
Having a credit card entails the obligation to pay your bill in full each month in order to avoid incurring additional expenses in interest payments, which only serves to prolong your debt.
For those who are likely to experience hitches while paying off their credit card bills because of the current coronavirus uncertainty, consider a balance transfer card with no fee so you don’t accrue interest on that debt.
3. Rates Can Rise with Unpaid Balances
To make matters worse, the great annual percentage rate (APR) you thought you had on your credit card may have been an introductory rate that will increase if the balance is not paid off in full. As a result, an 8% APR can easily skyrocket to 29 percent in the blink of an eye.
While most of us won’t believe this, the likelihood remains a possibility.
4. Interest Is Expensive
Self-control is by far cheaper than bogus interest rates on credit cards. In place of having to take up an 18% interest rate on something worth $1,000, it’s better you restrain yourself from making that purchase or better still save towards it
For instance, if you purchase something for $1,000 using a credit card with an 18% interest rate and make the minimum payment each month, you will end up paying $175 in interest and still owing $946 on your purchase after one year.
5. It Can Lead to Bankruptcy
Just as stated in Investopedia, if you go on several spending sprees without a plan to pay them off, or if your plan goes awry because you lose your job or get hit with medical bills, you will regrettably find yourself hopelessly in debt. Declaring bankruptcy will scar your credit history for up to 10 years, and when the report finally goes away, you have to build good credit all over again
Why Should I Pay Off My Credit Card Debts?
There are several good reasons to pay off your credit card debt as quickly as possible:
1. Pay less interest
Paying off your credit cards will save you a lot of money in interest. Depending on your debt and interest rate, you could end up saving big bucks over time. That is significant, in our opinion.
2. It reduces stress
Having credit card debt is capable of keeping you worried. You have to remember to pay the bills, mumble about its threat to your financial security and finally plan on days to pay off the credit card debt. The stress factors are endless. Paying off your cards will help relieve that stress.
3. Attain Financial Security
Credit card debt poses a significant risk to your financial security. It keeps you from making the most of your earnings. The money spent on credit card payments could be saved for a rainy day, an emergency, your children’s college, and so on. Paying off your credit cards brings you one step closer to financial security.
4. Improve Your Credit Score
When it comes to your credit score, one of the most important factors to consider is credit utilization. The amount of your debt in relation to your credit limit is referred to as credit utilization. It is recommended that this figure be kept below 30%. As you pay down your credit cards, your utilization score will decrease, which will improve your credit score.
5. Increase Your Future Earnings
When you allow debt to accumulate on credit cards, you are ultimately taking money away from yourself in the future. Therefore, it will be in your best interest If you pay off your credit card debt now. It will make you have more money, later on, increasing your future earnings and financial security.
6. Contribute to Your Retirement Plan
When you don’t have enough credit card debt, it is easier for you to save money for retirement or other things that matter to you like buying a new house and all.
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7. Reduce the Number of Bills You Pay
We all know this is obvious, but when it comes to credit card debt, many people fail to see the obvious. You will have fewer bills to pay each month if you pay off your credit card debt.
Best Strategies To Pay Off Credit Card Debt
If you have credit card debt hanging over your head, there are multiple ways to tackle it. The method that’s appropriate for you depends on how much debt you have, your credit history, and what will help you stay motivated to keep chipping away at your debt — even if you feel like giving up. Here are a few tested strategies to pay off credit card debt.
#1 The debt snowball
The debt snowball is a credit card payoff strategy in which you must list your outstanding credit card balances in a specific order. You should put the account with the lowest balance at the top of your list of debts. Then, based on the balances you owe, order the remaining accounts from lowest to highest.
A number of financial and credit experts are of the opinion that paying off the smallest debt first is the best way for consumers to pay down their credit card debt.
#2 The debt avalanche
Another credit card payoff strategy that requires you to list your credit card balances in a specific order is the debt avalanche. This method, on the other hand, bases your debt payoff sequence on your interest rate—highest to lowest.
Just as in the debt snowball method, you make the minimum payment on all of your accounts except the credit card in the first payoff slot. With the debt avalanche approach, this is the card with the highest APR. Then you pay as much as you can each month until you have paid off the highest-interest card first.
Once you’ve paid off your highest-interest account, roll over the money you were paying on that debt each month and apply it to your second-highest-interest card. Repeat until all of your accounts have a zero balance.
#3 Make an extra monthly payment
You’re probably used to monthly billing cycles, but you don’t have to wait until your payment due date to pay down some of your balance, and you’re not limited to only making one payment per month.
Credit card interest is compounded daily, and finance charges are calculated based on the average daily balance of your account. That means you’ll have to pay more interest charges for each day you don’t make a payment.
To that end, if you get paid every two weeks or bimonthly, making two payments a month might be feasible; if you’re paid more often — say, you get a weekly paycheck or you’re a tipped worker — you might fancy jump-starting your debt-management plan by paying weekly.
#4 Credit card consolidation loan
Personal loans for debt consolidation combine multiple account balances into a single loan with a single monthly payment — ideally, at a lower interest rate. You use the loan funds to pay off your credit card balances, then make monthly payments on the personal loan.
Because credit card interest rates are often higher than rates charged on personal loans, especially if you have good credit, a debt consolidation loan simplifies your finances. Instead of making multiple payments each month, you need to make only one for all the consolidated debts.
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#5 Get a balance transfer credit card
If you have a good credit score, you might be able to get a card that will help you pay off your debt faster.
Balance transfer credit cards typically offer 0% introductory APR rates for a promotional period of 12 to 18 months. This introductory period provides you with a window of opportunity to pay off your debt quickly: Because you are not paying interest, your entire monthly payment is applied to the principal. However, make it a priority to pay off your balance before the promotional period expires, especially if the non-introductory APR rate is high.
#6 Tighten your budget to reduce spending
Nobody wants to hear it, but one of the simplest ways to quickly pay off debt is to put more money toward it each month. This includes finding new ways to save money, such as canceling cable TV or reducing the number of nights you order takeout. When you can pay more than the minimum on your credit card bills, you’re one step closer to debt freedom.
Credit card debt can quickly accumulate, whether it is the result of unanticipated medical expenses, an emergency expense, or everyday purchases. Many people get into credit card debt by using their credit cards to finance large purchases they can’t afford right away.
Credit cards can have high-interest rates, depending on your credit score and financial history, making it more difficult to pay off the debt in the future if at least the minimum payment is not made. And if you’re also responsible for more structured payments, such as a personal loan or student loan payments, credit card debt may fall lower on the priority list and grow.