Here is how you can pay off your credit card debt by following these 5 steps systematically. They will greatly help reduce the burden of your credit card debt.
Meeting the Minimum Payment On Your Credit Card To Pay Off the Debt Gradually
It is important to meet the minimum amount due on a credit card bill every month when you are trying to pay off debts on your credit card. This is specially true if you facing a debt on multiple credit cards. You can continue to pay the minimum amount without your account being considered late. Failing to do so will probably result in a late fee being levied on you in the next billing cycle. Your credit card issuer may also decide to increase the interest rate or cancel the credit card altogether for failing to comply with the terms and conditions of the credit card.
Paying off a credit card debt just by making the minimum payments can take very long time. You will also pay a large sum as interest by the time the debt is paid off. For this reason a consumer is encouraged to make a payment that is more than just the minimum amount due. That way not only will you not risk going into default but will gradually work to its paying off the credit card debt completely.
Failing to make the minimum payment will probably result in the credit card account as being reported as late to the credit bureaus. This will affect your credit score and your future prospects of getting good deals on credit cards.
Get Current on Any Delinquent Credit Card Accounts
Getting late on a credit card account and then not making any effort to get current on it can result in a debt that quickly spirals out of control. Credit card debt has the highest amount of interest-rate than any other kind of loan. If you have an outstanding balance on a credit card that you have not been making at least to the minimum payment towards them the interest rate and the finance charges can severely mount up the total amount due. Not only will you find yourself in a position where a small amount of initial balance has swelled into a very large sum of money but also do damage to your credit score when the credit card issuer reports the late account to the credit bureau. Each delinquent accounts stays on the credit report for a period of seven years from the date that it was first reported. This can have a similar impact on your credit score as far as the decision of future lenders on a credit application.
Worse still, if your account gets delayed by more than 180 days the creditor might write off your account and pass off the debts to a collection agency for collection.
You should try and at least make the minimum payment due on your credit card and put away whatever money you can towards reducing your credit card debt.
Bringing Maxed out Credit Cards Under the Limit
Bringing maxed out credit cards under the limit is important because the extra fees and charges that are levied on maxed out credit cards will further increase the credit card debt and make it more difficult to pay them off.
Maxed out credit cards not only do damage to the credit score of the consumer but also viewed upon unfavorably by the lenders. While calculating the credit score for consumer most of the credit calculation models consider something called the debt utilization ratio. The debt utilization ratio is the difference between the total amount of credit available to you and the credit that you utilize. The credit scoring model looks at the total amount of credit available to you as well as individually on each credit card. If any particular credit card is maxed out and close to its credit limit, it will have a negative impact on your credit score. Being close to the credit limit of a credit card is viewed as being high-risk. It is presumed that the consumer is overusing credit and flirting with defaulting by not being able to play the high balance. Defaulting on the high balance means more of a loss to the credit card issuer.
Ideally the balance on a credit card should be maintained at about 30% of the total credit limit of the card.
Maxing out your credit card also put you at the risk of going over the limit at any point of time. This is considered to be a high risk by both the credit scoring model as well as the lenders. Whenever you go over the limit your credit card issuer will charge you an extra fee and will continue to charge it to the time that you bring in the balance back under the limit. Once a credit card is over the credit limit, bringing it back down within the limit can be slightly difficult as you will need to pay more than just what is overdue because a part of your payment will go towards paying the over the limit fee.
Paying Off Existing Balances On Your Credit Cards Before You Charge Them Again
You may have more than one balance on a single credit card or have more than one credit card with a balance. You should attempt to reduce the balances as much as possible. Not only should you not have a balance that is more than 30% of the credit limit for a good credit score but also work towards eliminating the balances that you rotate every month in order to save yourself the interest and finance charges.
Reduce the balances to zero before you start making further charges to the card otherwise you may find it very difficult to get out of the credit card debt. Many people have had their credit card debt spiral out of control because they kept rotating their balances along with making additional charges. Different credit card issuers calculate the finance charges in different manner. Some will charge the new purchases with interest along with the original balance. Some will not give a grace period for new purchases in a new billing cycle if you are carrying a balance from the previous cycle making them accrue finance charges from the day that you make them. For this reason pay close attention to the balances that you have on your credit card and completely pay them off before moving on to make new charges.
Paying Off Credit Cards In the Order of Highest or Lowest Interest Rate
If you have a credit card debts that differ in the interest rate that is levied on them, it is better to make a choice as to which ones you are going to pay off first.
There are two common approaches that are used to pay off credit cards. One is to pay the balance with the highest interest rate first. The advantage is obvious. You will save more money that you would otherwise have to pay as interest charges.
The second approach is to tackle the smallest credit card balance first. The advantage is that the smallest debt is the easiest to pay off.
Both these approaches have their own advantages and dis-advantages.
By paying off the smallest credit card balance you are freeing up extra cash that will help you tackle the next higher balance. This process is continued so on and so forth till all the balances are paid off. Not to mention that fact that every time you manage to pay off a credit card balance in full, it leaves you with a feeling of self-worth and confidence that you can do what you have set out to do. This is the easiest method and has more chances of succeeding than if you start with tacking the highest balance first.
Of course, some people like to get the biggest credit card balance out of the picture first as that is the cause of maximum worry for them.