How to Use a Credit Card to Pay Down Credit Card Debt
Many people know how to run up credit card debt. What most don’t know, however, is how to pay down credit card debt.
Pay off debt faster with a balance transfer.
One route to paying down credit card debt is to apply for a credit card with a 0% introductory APR balance transfer offer. While debt may not always be good, credit does not necessarily have to be bad. The key is how you use it. So let’s explore how using credit wisely could help you be successful in credit card debt reduction.
Making a 0% Introductory APR Balance Transfer Offer Work for You
Step one is to apply for a new credit card account that allows for transferring a balance with no interest fees on that balance for an extended period of time. In general, offers could range from six months to more than a year.
High interest rates often come with the territory when carrying a balance, which makes reducing credit card debt even harder. On the other hand, when a balance from a high-rate credit card is transferred to a card with an introductory 0% APR balance transfer offer, it provides breathing room to pay debt down credit card debt quicker while saving money on regular interest rate charges. You will still be charged your standard APR for new purchases you may make on the new card. The goal now is to pay off as much of the debt as possible before the introductory period ends and the your standard APR applies to the remaining balance.
A 0% Introductory APR Balance Transfer Offer Can Still Cost You
It is common for credit card issuers to charge a 3 to 5% balance transfer fee on the amount transferred.1That charge is often tacked onto the balance being transferred. Even though the fee may be less than the rates on unpaid balances, be sure to compare and understand all costs involved with balance transfers before making the move.
While the 0% introductory APR balance transfer may apply to the amount being transferred for the duration of the promotional period, beware of making purchases with the new card. That 0% introductory APR balance transfer will not apply to new purchases, but standard interest rates will apply to new purchases and can add to your debt. Remember, the goal is debt reduction, so focus on saving and paying off, not buying and racking up more debt.2
Develop a Balance Transfer Payment Plan and Stick to It
Transferring balances on high-interest rate cards to credit cards with low or 0% introductory APRs will only work with a proactive dedication to decreasing debt as quickly as possible. Stick to this plan to make the most of the transfer:
- Pay the maximum amount you can every month.
- Avoid making new purchases on the new card, as you will be charged standard interest rates on that additional balance.
- Pay off the entire balance transfer amount before the end of the introductory period.
- Keep your old credit card accounts active and avoid running up new balances.
If you are ready to save on interest and work on reducing credit card debt, applying for a credit card offering a 0% introductory APR balance transfer offer may be well worth considering.
Pay Off Debt Faster with a Balance Transfer.