How to pay off your credit card more quickly

Follow our top tips and guidance on how to clear your credit card balance faster and more cheaply.

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There are lots of quick and easy ways to clear your credit card balance at a faster rate.

And doing so will mean that instead of using your money to pay off existing card balances, you can then put that money towards something else – whether that’s adding to your savings account or treating yourself.

In this article, we explain exactly how to speed up the process of clearing your credit card debt.

Cut back on your spending

The first step is to take a closer look at your outgoings and see what you’re spending where and whether there are areas where you can make cut backs. Any money you are able to save can go towards paying off your credit card balance.

Take a look at your monthly bank statements and make a list of everything outgoing. This includes everything from your energy, broadband and TV bill to your grocery shopping, petrol costs and any unused subscriptions.

You might find, for example, that you’ve forgotten to switch when a promotional deal has ended, or you’re paying out for a travel insurance policy when this is already covered through your current account.

Any saving you can make, however big or small, will help you to clear your credit cards faster.

Switch to a cheaper credit card

If you can transfer your existing credit card balance to a card with a lower interest rate, this will reduce the overall amount you’re repaying and speed up the time it takes you to clear it.

There are a number of balance transfer credit cards that allow you to pay no interest for up to two years or more, giving you time to tackle your debt head on and pay it off faster.

Just be aware you will usually have to pay a fee of around 2% to 3% of the amount you transfer, and try to make sure you’ve cleared your balance by the time the 0% deal is up so you don’t end up paying interest.

Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 19.9% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 19.9% APR (variable).

 

If you think you’ll need longer to clear your credit card balance, you could consider a low APR credit card instead. This type of card offers a low rate of interest for the lifetime of the balance, which gives you plenty of time to pay off what you owe but at a cheaper rate of interest.

Also bear in mind that if you make multiple applications, this can have a negative effect on your credit history. Similarly, if you apply for a card and are rejected this can impact your credit score.

To avoid this, it’s a good idea to use our Eligibility Checker first, as this will give you an idea of how likely you are to be accepted for a new card without affecting your credit score.

Focus on clearing the most expensive cards first

If you have more than one credit card, try to pay as much as possible towards the most expensive card first. This is the card with the highest interest rate.

Just remember to keep up with the minimum payments on your other cards too.

By doing this, you’re speeding up the time spent paying the higher rate of interest. Once that card is clear you’ll have more money to put towards paying off your other credit cards.

You can read more about how to do this in our article.

Pay more than the minimum to turbo charge your repayments

It’s up to you to decide how much of your credit card you want to repay, and the more you’re able to put towards it the quicker the outstanding balance will be cleared.

You’ll need to make sure you’re paying at least the minimum monthly payment, which is usually a percentage of the outstanding balance.

However, minimum monthly payments are usually set at very low levels, and as the overall amount owed reduces, so will the minimum payment, which means it can take a very long time to clear your card balance and you’ll end up paying a lot more in interest.

Therefore, if you can pay more than the minimum amount, you will be able to clear your card at a faster rate and save interest.

Set up a direct debit so you never miss a payment

If you forget to make a payment to your credit card provider, you’ll not only have to pay a penalty charge, it will also be noted on your credit score.

To avoid this happening set up a direct debit so you can make sure you never forget a payment. You can set the amount you are able to pay and this can be increased, or decreased, if your circumstances change.  

If the minimum payment is all you can afford, set up a direct debit to cover this, and you are then free to make extra payments as and when you can.

When you are able to increase your payments, you can easily change the amount the direct debit is set at.

 

All credit cards are subject to status and terms and conditions. Over 18s, UK residents only. Terms and conditions apply. See MoneySuperMarket.com for further information.

MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker - this means we'll show you products offered by lenders. We never take a fee from customers for this broking service. Instead we are usually paid a commission by the lenders - though the size of that payment doesn't affect how we show products to customers.

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