4 Ways to Pay Off Your Credit Cards Faster

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Could these techniques help you become debt free?

Key points

  • Paying off credit cards can take time and a lot of money, but there are ways to help speed up the process.
  • Refinancing with personal loans or a balance transfer are just two of several options to consider.

It can take a long time to pay off credit card debt due to low minimum payments and high credit card interest rates. But just because it can take years to become free of your credit card debt doesn't mean it has to take that long in every situation.

In fact, there are four proven techniques you may want to consider that could help you pay off your cards much more quickly than you may have imagined possible. Here's what they are:

1. Refinance using a personal loan

Refinancing to a personal loan is one of the single best techniques to becoming debt free ASAP. This approach helps you in a few different ways.

First, the interest rate on a personal loan is usually well below the interest rate on a credit card. Any time you can reduce your rate, it will make paying off debt easier by reducing the cost of borrowing. When less money goes toward interest, more goes toward reducing your principal balance quickly.

Second, personal loans have fixed repayment schedules. You decide what repayment term you want when you apply for your loan. Then, your minimum payments are set up to pay off the loan on time and quicker. You can choose a loan with the shortest repayment time that comes with monthly payments that are affordable, and you’ll know exactly when you'll become debt free.

2. Use a balance transfer card

A balance transfer is another approach to paying off your card ASAP. Balance transfer credit cards offer 0% promotional interest rates when you transfer an existing credit card balance to them. The 0% rate usually lasts for around a year to 15 months.

Although you'll pay a small upfront fee to transfer your balance in most cases, this fee is quite low relative to the annual interest rate on credit cards. It’s well worth paying a small fee for a year or more of 0% interest. During that time, when the 0% rate is in effect, every dollar you pay will go toward reducing your principal balance.

The downside of a balance transfer credit card is that if you don't pay off the full balance by the end of the promotional period, your rate will be higher. And the minimum payments are usually not set to repay the balance in full by the end of the promotional period. It will be up to you to make sure your monthly payments allow you to retire the debt in time.

3. Negotiate your interest rate

In some cases, credit card companies will reduce your interest rate if you ask them to. They may be willing to do this if you indicate you'll otherwise transfer your balance since they risk losing the account if you do that. Or they may be willing to work with you on a payment plan if you tell them you're having trouble paying.

Negotiating your rate to reduce your interest charges also means more of your money will go toward principal, allowing you to pay the debt off faster.

4. Make extra payments

Finally, you can also simply make extra credit card payments on your existing credit card. The more money you can pay each month above the required minimum payment, the faster you'll pay down your debt and the less interest you'll pay over time.

The right approach depends on your goals, but it's worth exploring each of these options to try to become debt free ASAP rather than being stuck in credit card debt for years to come.

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