If you’ve racked up a lot of credit card debt in recent months and you’re worried about how you’ll pay it off, fear not, there are plenty of ways to tackle it and get on top of your finances in no time.
Get the ball rolling
One of the quickest ways to get rid of credit card debt is to reduce the amount of interest you’re paying. Start off by finding out which of your credit cards has the highest interest rate, as this is the credit card that’s costing you the most in interest payments.
You should be able to find your interest rate on your monthly bank statements but if you can’t your bank will be able to tell you in branch or by telephone (if you’re set up with telephone banking).
Once you’ve prioritised paying off your credit card with the highest interest rate, work your way through the rest, starting with the card that has the next highest interest rate and so on and so forth. This is often referred to as ‘snowballing’ and can be effective way to organise and prioritise which debts to clear first.
While snowballing encourages you to pay off as much as you can afford to on your most expensive credit card, make sure you are making at least your minimum payments on your remaining cards as you risk facing late payment charges and jeopardising your credit score.
Up your minimum payments
It sounds obvious, but the more you can repay monthly the quicker you’ll be able to clear your debt (and avoid further interest accruing on your balance).
Our handy credit card calculator provides an easy way of working out how quickly you can pay off your outstanding balance by adjusting the amount you repay every month.
Avoid racking up unnecessary fees
Setting up a monthly direct debit will ensure you don’t miss a payment on your credit card. If you miss payments, you will be charged a late payment fee.
Similarly, avoid taking cash out on your credit card as when you make cash withdrawals you will normally pay a fee, plus interest will be charged from the date of the withdrawal.
Explore your credit card options
Use a 0% balance transfer card. One of the cost effective to get rid of credit card debt is to reduce the amount of interest you’re paying.
You can do this by transferring your debt to a new card with a 0% balance transfer deal. That way you’ll be able to avoid paying interest for a set amount of time – up to three years in the very best cases – which should help you to make a dent in your debt.
Be aware you’ll usually have to pay a fee (typically around 2%-3% of the overall debt) to make your transfer, but this can still be worth paying when you take into account the amount you will save overall. If you get a 0% balance transfer card, avoid using it for purchases. Use your card for its purpose – clearing existing debt.
It’s also worth noting that you will need a good credit score to get the most competitive balance transfer credit card deals.
Access balance transfer cards with Credit Monitor
MoneySuperMarket's Credit Monitor app gives you a free credit score and can help you find balance transfer cards you're likely to be accepted for – taking away any uncertainty that that your application won’t be approved.
Credit Monitor also shows you the interest rate you’ll be offered by lenders, allowing you to accurately work out the cost of borrowing, if for example there is a balance transfer fee.
No fee balance transfer cards
If you can afford to clear your balance in less time, some balance transfer cards offer shorter 0% periods but no transfer fee, so you could save even more money.