If you are having trouble paying off credit card debt, you need help. Paying off a large balance can be one of the most difficult challenges in personal finance, but there are some resources and strategies that can help you. Here are a few of the tools out there that make the task of paying off your debt a little easier.
1. Balance Transfer Credit Cards
One of the most important tools for getting out of debt can be credit cards with 0% APR balance transfer offers. Once an applicant is approved for a card with one of these offers, he or she can transfer their existing balances to their new account. The cardholders will no longer incur interest on their existing balances, but most of these offers will add a 3% balance transfer fee to their new balance. These offers last between six and 18 months until the card’s standard interest rate applies.
The benefit is that cardholders no longer incur interest charges on their new balance, and all of their payments count against the principal. And with no interest charges, the balance can be paid down more quickly. On the other hand, some cardholders can see this temporary break from interest payments as an excuse not to pay down their debt until a later time.
2. Interest-Free Financing Offers
Like balance transfer offers, many credit cards offer new applicants the chance to save money by offering 0% APR financing on new purchases. These cards allow customers to continue to receive the convenience and security of their credit cards, without being charged interest on all their purchases. When these savings on interest are used to pay off debt, the result is that cardholders can pay off their balances more quickly.
3. Low-Interest Credit Cards
After cards with 0% APR promotional financing offers, credit cards with low interest rates are the next best way to reduce interest payments. For example, the winner of our Best Credit Cards in America series for low interest rate cards had an APR of just 6.25% at publishing time. Nevertheless, applicants will have to have excellent credit in order to be approved for the best offers.
4. Credit Card Repayment Calculators
Thanks to the CARD Act of 2009, banks are now required to issue monthly statements that show cardholders how long it will take them to pay off their balance if they only make the minimum payment, and how much cardholders can save if they pay their balance off in only three years.
This information is great to know, but credit card users in debt might need more full-featured tools in order to create a plan to pay off their balance as soon as possible.
One of the tools that can be used to get out of debt sooner is the Blueprint program, offered on several Chase credit cards, including Chase’s Slate, Freedom, Sapphire, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink. According to Tom O’Donnell, Sr. Vice President at Chase, “Blueprint was created to see what we can do to improve the customer’s ability to manage their balances.”
Blueprint has several different features that help cardholders pay off their debt. They can schedule a payoff date, and calculate the monthly payment required to reach that goal; pay off a large purchase over a specified period of time; pay off some purchases in full, while carrying a balance on other purchases in order to reduce interest charges; and track their expenditures to help control spending.
For those who don’t have Chase cards that are eligible for the Blueprint program, there are other tools available to help cardholders calculate what they need to pay each month to get out of debt sooner. For example, the Federal Reserve offers a Credit Card Repayment Calculator on its website. In addition, Credit.com offers its own Credit Card Payoff Calculator that shows how long it will take cardholders to pay off their balance, and lets them input their own interest rates and payment amounts.
At publishing time, Chase credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com may be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.