How To Pay Down Credit Card Debt As Quickly As Possible
To pay down a credit card balance as quickly as possible, consider the following ideas - each of which are discussed in other sections of this article:
- Pay the bill as soon as possible.
- Send whatever extra money you have to the credit card company as soon as you get the money -- so long as you have the money to pay the next minimum monthly payment and the other bills you need to pay.
- If you have an "Emergency Fund," consider using money in it to pay down the debt. The money in your fund is probably not earning interest anything near the amount you are paying on the credit card balance. You can get additional money from the credit card later if you need it to pay for the expenses that would have been paid from the "Emergency Fund."
- If you pay money to the credit card company in between bills:
- Don't be surprised if it doesn't show up on your next bill. Your payment and the bill may cross in the mail, or the payment may be received too late to show up on the bill. It will show up on the following bill.
- Don't try to calculate the interest you'll owe on the balance by just comparing the amount you paid to the amount you owe. The interest calculation is more complicated than that.
- Consider saving time and a postage stamp by accessing and paying your accounts through the bank's online service center.
- Try not to pay late.
- Credit card companies charge late-payment fees even for a payment that is one day late. Many cards will also increase your interest rate if you are late twice within a certain time period -- an interest rate that sticks for the rest of the time the card exists. Even worse, late payments are usually reported to credit bureaus which in turn affects your credit score.
- Pay more than the minimum.
- Always pay more than the minimum, even if it's only a few dollars.
- If you are only making minimum payments on your debt, it will take a long time to pay it off. In fact, when you add interest on top of the interest you already owe, your debt probably increases if you only make minimum payments.
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