How Long Will It Take You to Pay Off Credit Card Debt

Are you dealing with high credit card debt? Then you are part of a very large group of Americans. The Federal Reserve reports that as of February 2015, the credit card debt in the United States is more than 3.34 trillion dollars. That means that there is over $10,000 in debt for every person in the United States. 

Americans are struggling daily with their credit card debt. It is estimated that each cardholder has approximately $15,000 in credit card debt at an annual percentage rate of 17 percent. 

You can pay of your credit card debt if you focus on strategies that will help you manage and pay off your credit card debt quickly. 

Pay More than the Amount Due 

Do you pay the minimum amount due each month? If you are like most people you are only making the minimum payment due on your accounts and as a result you are going to be paying double your debt or more on the life of the account. Making your minimum payment each month is keeping your account in good standing and protecting your credit score, but the amount of time it will take you to pay off your balance, and the amount you are going to pay over time, will increasing drastically. 

Review your credit card statements to verify the current interest rate you are paying. Most credit card issuers will show you how long it will take to pay off the balance if you only pay the minimum each month. 

Pay More than the Minimum Due Every Month. It will dramatically lower the length of time required to pay off the balance and it will lower the amount of money that goes to the interest on the account. It may also help your credit score by lowering the credit to debt ratio. The little things do make a difference. 

Focus on One Account at A Time 

Most Americans have more than one credit card and each card most likely will have different balances and interest rates. There are several ways you can approach reducing the debt across all of your credit cards.

Some people may choose to pay the minimum across all their cards, however, as we discussed this will lengthen the time it takes to pay them off and drastically increase the amount of money you are repaying. 

Another strategy is to focus on one credit card at a time. Pick the one with the highest interest rate and focus on paying it off by paying extra each month on that credit card while paying the minimum on the other cards. Once you pay off the highest rate card, you then move to the next card using the same strategy. 

You may also consider looking for a credit card with better interest rates or a 0% rate card, which usually offer the 0% rate for a year, so that you can transfer the balance off a higher rate card and pay the debt down with no interest. If you can’t qualify for a balance transfer card, you may want to look into repairing your credit in order to help you qualify for a lower interest rate card. 

Debt Consolidation 

Consolidating your debt or refinancing your debt is another available strategy to managing your credit card debt. This option must be carefully examined as you are not paying off the debt but simply moving it to another credit issuer. It will usually allow you to lengthen the term for repayment, which can lower your monthly payments. However, be aware of the interest rates as it may increase the repayment amount you are paying over time. 

Solutions for You 

Credit used responsibly is a valuable financial tool and can help you achieve your financial goals. Use it carefully and manage it wisely so that it works for you rather than allowing it to over-extend you and increase your debt. Remember, plan a strategy that works for you and create a long-term solution for your financial success.