Pay Off High-Interest Credit Card Debt: 15 Strategies

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Paying off your high-interest debt can be a difficult task. Knowing where to start, what steps to take next, and avoiding common mistakes can make the process much more manageable. Here are 15 tips to help you pay off high-interest debt quickly. 

Why Is High-Interest Debt So Hard to Tackle?

High-interest debt is difficult to pay off because the interest compounds over time. You are paying back the amount of money you borrowed and all of the accumulated interest. 

If you have a $1000 balance on a credit card with an interest rate (APR) of 18% and only make the minimum monthly payment of $20, it will take you 111 months of debt payments (almost nine years) to pay off your debt. You will have paid more than $2000 in interest during that time.

It’s important to start tackling your debt as soon as possible. With some hard work and determination, you can become debt-free in no time.

Tip #1: Negotiate Your Interest Rate

Many creditors are willing to negotiate a lower interest rate if you have paid on time for several months. 

There is no guarantee that they will say yes – but who knows?  You might be surprised by how accommodating some companies can be when their customers make requests like these.

Even if the interest rate is only reduced for a short time, you will save money. 

Tip #2: Balance Transfer Credit Card

If you have a good credit score, you might be able to transfer some or all of your credit card debt to a zero or low-interest card. With a 0% credit card, you will pay off credit card debt faster. 

Read the terms and conditions of any new credit cards carefully before transferring any balances. There may be fees associated with balance transfer cards, among other fees. Check with the credit card issuer before you pay a transfer fee. 

Tip #3: Pay More Than The Minimum Payment Every Month

If you only make the minimum monthly payment on your debts, it will take you a very long time to pay them off. If you only make the minimum payment each month, you will end up paying more in interest than you originally borrowed. 

High-interest credit cards are hoping you only make the minimum payment each month. Be sure to avoid this and make more than minimum payments each month. 

Tip #4: Cut Unnecessary Expenses

To pay off your credit card balances more quickly, you need to find ways to free up extra money each month. One way to do this is by cutting back on unnecessary expenses.

Take a look at your budget and see where you can cut back without making too many drastic changes. Maybe you can cancel some of your subscriptions, brown bag your lunch instead of eating out, or drive less frequently. Making small changes like these can add up to significant savings over time.

Keep reading: 20 Budgeting Tips for Beginners

Tip #5: Tackle Any Smaller Debts First

Pay off your smaller credit card debts first, and then work your way up to larger ones as you become debt-free. You’ll end up paying less interest overall this way. It also makes it easier as you only need to keep track of the lowest of your credit card balances. 

Tip #6: Look Into Credit Counseling

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your debt, credit counseling may be a good option for you. A credit counselor can help you create a budget and repayment plan explicitly tailored to your needs.

A new set of eyes can often bring clarity to a financial situation. 

Tip #7: Make Bi-Weekly Payments, If Possible

Making two smaller payments every month can save you money on interest and pay off the entire balance more quickly. 

Tip #8: Pay Off Highest Interest Rate First

Go after the highest interest rate first. By paying off this debt first, you will pay the least interest. 

Tip #9: Refinance If It Makes Sense

Consider refinancing if you have a car loan, personal loan, or another type of debt with an interest rate higher than your current credit cards. You will reduce the total amount you pay over time and might even save you money on monthly payments.

Considering a personal loan or debt consolidation, the numbers have to make sense. 

Tip #10: Look For Additional Forms Of Income to Help Pay More Into The Debt

If you have a job and your debt load is high, it may be possible for you to make more money. There are many ways that this can happen. Here are some ways.

  • Ask for a raise at work (and even negotiate an increase in benefits like paid time off) 
  • Start another part-time job or look into a side hustle and freelance opportunities online. 
  • Rent out a spare bedroom in your house

Increase your income, and pay off credit card debt more quickly. 

Tip #11: Utilize a Debt Repayment App

There are many different free apps out there that can help. Some popular options include Debt Tracker, Pay Off Debt, and Goodbudget. All of these allow you to input your current balances, interest rates, and monthly payments so you can see exactly where you stand at all times.

If you have multiple debts with varying interest rates, an app can help you organize everything. 

Tip #12: Remove Your Card Information From Online Shopping Sites

Simply put, you will continue paying high amounts of interest to credit card companies when the temptation is at your fingertips. 

Remove the multiple credit cards you have saved to every online retailer. 

Tip #13: Sell Unwanted Items Around the House and Put The Money Towards Your Debt

One way to get a quick influx of cash is to sell some of your unwanted items around the house. Anything taking up space can be sold and put toward your credit card debt or personal loans. 

Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are great for anything someone else can use. 

Take pictures of the item, write a good description, and list the items. 

Tip #14: Consider Debt Consolidation Or Personal Loan

Taking out a new debt consolidation loan used specifically to pay off your other debts is one way to pay off card debt and have lower interest payments. 

The advantage of debt consolidation is that you’ll typically get a lower interest rate than what you’re currently paying and only have one payment. 

Debt consolidation loans are typically done through personal loans. 

Tip #15: Build Discipline, So You Don’t Return to Old Habits After You Reach Your Goal

One common tactic used by those who want to get out of debt is paying yourself first

Automatically put some money towards your debts every single month before spending anything else. 

It’s hard to spend money when it doesn’t even enter the equation.

Make sure to have a budget that fits your needs. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. 

Download my free template here. All you have to do is input your information, and you’re on your way.

Building discipline and sticking with these types of actions over time isn’t always easy – so be sure to remind yourself what you’re working towards whenever temptation calls during difficult times or moments of weakness.

You Will Be Debt-Free

There are many different ways to get your debt under control – and the approach you take will ultimately depend on your unique situation. 

These are just a few of the many methods you can use to pay off your high-interest credit card debt. If you’re having trouble making progress, remind yourself of the progress you have made before. 

You will have a debt-free life soon. Keep at it. 

Max Marvelous
Contributor | Website | + posts

As a certified credit counselor and syndicated writer at MaxMyMoney, Max has coached over 250 Millennials to help take the stress out of money. When Max is not coaching, you'll find him reading financial books, indoor cycling, or visiting local pawn shops looking for swiss-made watches.