Owing money on your credit card can sometimes be stressful. Here's how to pay it off faster, save money and reduce your money worries.
If you're having trouble making repayments, there is help available. Contact your lender and talk to them about applying for financial hardship.
Pay on time
Check your credit card statement for the due date and make sure you pay on or before that date. By doing this, you'll avoid paying extra interest or late fees and also help keep your credit score healthy.
An easy way to pay is by direct debit or automatic transfer from your bank account each month. Set it for the day after your pay goes in, so you have enough money to cover it.
You can also set up a reminder to pay in your calendar.
Pay as much as you can each month
If you can make higher repayments each month, you will pay off the debt faster and save money.
Work out the fastest way to pay off your credit card.
If you only pay the minimum, you'll pay a lot of interest and it will take years to pay off your debt in full.
If you're finding it hard to pay the minimum amount, contact your bank or credit provider straight away or talk to a free financial counsellor. Taking action early stops a small money problem from getting bigger.
Cut back on your credit cards
If you have multiple credit cards, plan to reduce the number you have.
Try setting yourself a goal to pay off one card at a time. Start with either of these:
- Smallest debt
Paying off the card with the smallest debt first helps motivate you to keep going. Once you've paid that off, move onto the next smallest debt.
- Highest interest rate
If one of your cards has a much higher interest rate, consider paying off that one first. Then pay off your other cards one by one.
Whichever option you choose:
- Keep making the minimum payments on all your cards.
- Use only one of your cards, and try to keep it just for emergencies.
- Cancel each credit card once you've paid it off.
Reduce your credit limit
To avoid the temptation to overspend on your card, ask your credit provider to reduce your credit limit. You can do this online, by phone or by visiting a branch. In most cases, it takes between one and two business days.
If you need to increase your limit to buy something special, aim to pay it off quickly. Then reduce your limit again to a manageable amount.
Get a better deal
See choosing a credit card for tips about how to get the best credit card deal for your situation.
Consider the pros and cons before getting a credit card balance transfer with a lower (or zero) interest rate.
Keep track of your spending
Take charge of what you owe by keeping track of money coming in and going out. If you know what you're spending, it's easier to keep up with bills and credit card payments. You can track your spending in a few different ways.
Savannah's smart choice
Savannah owes nearly $10,000 in total on her three credit cards. The average interest rate on the three cards is 20%. The minimum monthly repayment for the cards is about $200.
Savannah works out that if she only makes the minimum repayments each month:
- It would take 61 years to pay off the three cards.
- She would pay over $42,000 in interest.
Instead, she decides to pay $300 a month. This means:
- It will take about four years to pay off the three cards.
- She will save almost $38,000 in interest.