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How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt

December 18, 2013 by Lucy Lazarony

How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt

Determined to knock out your credit card debt once and for all? These tips can help you move from debt-stressed to debt-free.

Start with a credit reality check

Those credit card balances are weighing down more than your wallet. They may be dragging down your credit score, too. If you want to see how your debt is affecting your credit, you can check your credit scores for free using Credit.com's Credit Report Card. It's updated every month so you can monitor your score as you pay down debt.

Pay off smallest balance first

If you have several credit cards with various balances, this might be the way to go. Take the account with the smallest balance and pay double, triple monthly payments, whatever you can afford each month, all while continuing to make the minimum payment on your other credit cards.

Once that smallest balance is knocked down to zero, move on to the card with the next lowest balance. This pay-off strategy gives you the great satisfaction of seeing a card balance flip to zero early on in your pay-off plan. Once one is down to zero, then two, you'll be motivated to keep going until all those balances read zero.

Pay down card with highest interest rate

Are you sick of the money that is being sucked away by the finance charges on your credit cards? And are you looking for a no-nonsense and effective way to slash your debt? Then zero in on the credit card with the highest interest rate first and focus your payments there.

Pay double or triple your minimum payments on the card with highest interest rate and most costly monthly finances charges, while continuing to make the minimum payments on your other credit cards. This strategy is the most efficient way to attack your debt, but it takes discipline to stick with it, especially if the card with the highest interest rate has a pretty hefty balance. Once you pay off the card with the highest interest rate, move on to the card with the next highest interest rate and so on.

Choose a payment strategy that works for you and stick with it. You may even adopt a combination approach. Maybe the card with the highest interest rate also has the lowest balance. So you'll get the double satisfaction of attacking the card with the highest APR and seeing a smaller balance flip to zero pretty early on in your this-debt-must-go plan.


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Meet Our Experts

Lucy Lazarony Lucy Lazarony is a freelance personal finance writer. Her articles have been featured on Bankrate, MoneyRates, MSN Money, and The National Endowment for Financial Education. Prior to freelancing, she worked as a staff writer for Bankrate for seven years. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida and spent a summer as an international intern at Richmond, The American International University in London. She lives in South Florida.