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The best way to pay off my credit card

January 30, 2018

 

Have you ever said this to yourself "OK! I'm going to pay off my credit card! What is the best way to get started?"

 

If you ask Facebook, many people will suggest that you should look for a $0 balance transfer offer, transfer your balance to a new bank and then set about paying it off.

 

Now while lots of people have done this successfully, those results are not the norm.

 

Not even half of the people that transfer balances pay off their credit cards.

 

In fact the success rate for this method is around 14%, with around 60% of people failing so bad that they end up with this new credit card maxxed out, plus the old one maxxed out again (it can be really hard to say No to the previous bank's tempting offers to get you back).

 

You can also be stung up to 30% interest for not paying off the balance during the introductory period. Eek!

 

Another option people will throw around is to get a personal loan and work that off, or if you have several credit cards you might hear the suggestion for debt consolidation.

 

Now here is some good news - the success rate for these options is much much higher than the dismal 14% success rate of the balance transfer.

 

I believe the reason for this is that you are forced into a situation where you can't add a purchase "just this once" (statistically this spirals out of control to the tune of $1.5b profit (and that's only NAB).

 

They also have an added bonus....

 

They force you to face the reasons you're in debt in the first place.

 

This is a good time to note that all of these options will add notches to your credit rating. It's your personal choice whether this is something you're happy with or choose to avoid.

 

My personal favourite is phoning your existing credit card issuer and negotiating a better deal. 

 

Depending on how big your chosen bank is, they often have a 'Retention Team' - these guys make the best deals. 

 

I'm talking deals like reducing the interest rate by 50% for 6-12 months and refunding annual fees. 

 

To do this, you need to mentally fight against the temptation that we mentioned earlier (remember the $1.5b profit? That doesn't happen by accident...) and if you can't do this, or you've tried and you're feeling like you're losing the willpower, definitely switch to something you feel will work for you.

 

Bottom line, there is no point chasing lower fees and interest rates if you're just going to end up in the same (or worse!) pickle.

 

There is no one-size-fits all.  Seek professional advice and choose what works for you. Don't be afraid to admit when something isn't working and look at your options.

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