How To Reduce Credit Card Debt - 5 Tips

Credit debt is one of the most difficult types of debt to get out from under. It is a type of unsecured debt, meaning that unlike a house or a car loan, you do not own anything of value against that debt. Here are 5 tips for how to reduce your balances fast.

Tip #1: Transfer balances to lower-interest cards: The really nasty part of revolving debt is the interest payments, which are almost always higher those for auto loans or mortgages. An effective way to avoid paying a hefty amount toward credit card interest each month is to transfer your balances to lower-interest cards. Hint: do not close your higher-interest cards, however, as this can adversely affect your credit score.

Tip #2: Avoid unnecessary fees: Late fees are extremely unpleasant: nobody wants to have to pay a late fee in addition to their already-late monthly payment. If you are having trouble making a payment one month, prioritize paying on time to your credit companies over those of your utilities, for example.

Similar to late fees, be sure to avoid over-limit fees. While some credit card companies just cut off additional purchases when you reach your credit limit, others will actually allow you to make the charge and then make lots of additional money off of you from over-limit fees.

Tip #3: Use mostly cash: Try to pay all of your monthly expenditures in cash rather than using credit cards. This will get you into the habit of recognizing the connection between your income and what you spend. Hint: make just a few charges on your credit card each month but then quickly pay off the balance. This will help your credit score.

Tip #4: Prioritize credit card debt: If you have multiple forms of debt, focus on paying down your credit card debt first. Most lending agencies look down on unsecured debt more than they do other types of debt (with an exception being student loans). The interest on your credit card debt is almost certainly higher than it is for other loans you have. Pay it down first.

Tip #5: Improve your credit score: Taking simple steps to improve your credit score can help you reduce your credit card debt significantly faster. For example, even a 50-point improvement in your credit score can save you $1,000s in annual debt payments by making you eligible for lower-interest cards, mortgages, and auto loans.

Credit card debt can make your financial life very painful. There is no need to panic: most of us have been there at one time or another. No matter how high your balance or how bad your situation is, there are ways to fix it.