How To Get Out Of Credit Card Debt

Written by Banks Editorial Team
4 min. read
Written by Banks Editorial Team
4 min. read

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Credit card debt can be stressful and leave you feeling overwhelmed or defeated. And if you’re only able to pay the minimum each month, chances are you’ll be on the hook for payments for many years to come and spend a fortune in interest. 

The upside is that you can place a dent in your balances by changing how you manage your finances and implementing a debt repayment strategy. But if the balances are too excessive and you don’t believe you’ll ever pay them off, there are more aggressive options to help you find relief. You can also request help from a free credit counselor like Consolidated Credit to guide you through all the options.

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Steps To Get Out Of Credit Card Debt

Do you know how much you owe? You should have a concrete idea before starting your debt payoff journey. Grab a notebook and write down the following information for each account: 

  • The credit card issuer’s name, address and phone number
  • Your credit limit
  • Your outstanding balance
  • The minimum monthly payment
  • The interest rate
  • Your account status (or if your account is current or past due) 

Once you have this information, reach out to each credit card issuer and request a lower interest rate. Some may say no, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. 

Evaluate Your Finances

The next step is to take an inventory of your expenses and arrange them from least to most important. Items at the top of your list should be reduced or eliminated to free up cash to pay extra on your credit cards. 

Create A Budget

Your spending plan is the most critical component of the entire process. Without a budget that you’ll actually stick to, you won’t make much progress, if any, towards your credit card payoff goals. 

It should include accurate figures for your income and expenses, along with entries for your minimum credit card payments, any extra amounts your plan to pay and a line item for your savings. 

Avoid Unnecessary Spending

The more money you waste, the less you’ll have to allocate towards credit card debt. So, curb unnecessary spending as much as possible while paying down debt to keep the momentum going as you work to pay down your outstanding balances. 

Choose A Strategy

Deciding to pay off credit card debt is always a great goal. But selecting a payment strategy that you’ll actually implement is what matters most. Otherwise, the idea of paying off credit card debt will remain as just that. 

Credit Counseling Solutions

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Consolidated Credit is a nonprofit with over 30 years of experience, offering credit counseling, housing counseling and financial resources.

Paying Off Your Credit Card Debt

These strategies will help you meet your credit card payoff goals. 

Debt Snowball

You’ll start by attacking the credit card with the lowest balance until it’s paid in full. In the meantime, continue making the required minimum monthly payments on all your other debts to avoid late payments fees, penalties and adverse credit reporting. 

Once the first card is paid off, move on to the next card in line and put extra funds you have towards it to aggressively attack the balance. Repeat this cycle until you’ve paid off all your credit card debt. 

Credit Avalanche

If you adopt the credit avalanche strategy, you’ll first focus on the credit card with the higher interest rate. While it’ll take a bit longer to get a win, you’ll likely save a bundle in interest.   

Credit Blizzard

A credit blizzard merges the debt snowball and credit avalanche. You’ll start with the debt snowball strategy to pay off your first credit card and build momentum. Subsequent credit cards will be paid off using the debt avalanche method to maximize interest savings. 

Other Strategies For Getting Out Of Credit Card Debt

No luck with the debt snowball, debt avalanche or credit blizzard? Below are some other options to consider. 

Debt Consolidation

There are two ways to consolidate credit card debt

  • Personal loan: You take out a loan and use the funds to pay your credit card balances in full. This method is most effective if you have good or excellent credit and can secure a fixed-rate debt consolidation loan with a lower rate. Keep in mind that your monthly payments could be higher if you get a short loan term, but you’ll likely save a sizable amount in interest.
  • Balance transfer credit card: Like a debt consolidation loan, you’ll need a strong credit score to get a balance transfer credit card. If you’re approved for a card with a lower interest rate than you currently have, you’ll transfer the balances to save money as you repay the balance on the new card. Even better, most balance transfer credit cards offer an interest-free introductory period between 12 and 24 months. So, you could avoid paying excessive interest altogether if you’re able to pay the balance in full on the new card before the promotional period ends.

Debt Settlement

You can also contact your creditors and ask to settle your credit card debt for a fraction of what you owe. If you’re not comfortable calling on your own, you can hire a debt settlement company to do the work for you. Either way, settling for less than what you owe can have serious consequences for your credit health. 

Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges unsecured debt, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy gets you into a three to five-year payment plan. Both mean bad news for your credit score, and filing doesn’t automatically mean your filing will be accepted by the bankruptcy court, so have into consideration how bankruptcy differs from other debt relief options.

Get Help With A Debt Counseling Program

If you’ve tried the debt snowball, debt avalanche or credit blizzard and still haven’t had much luck, don’t fret. You may find the relief you need through debt consolidation, debt settlement, or in extreme cases, bankruptcy. But before you move forward, reach out to a reputable credit counselor who can review your financial situation and discuss suitable options. 

Consolidated Credit offers free credit counseling and debt management programs to help you break the chains of debt bondage. Since 1993, the firm has helped over 10 million resolve credit card debt, and you could be its next success story. Fill out the online form or call (844) 326-6202 to request your free consultation.

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