ball-and-chain-image

5 Easy Tips To Help You Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is quite possibly the worst kind of debt that you can carry

Credit card debt: thee words no one likes to utter.

And it’s not even a good type of debt. At least with a mortgage, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. When you make your last repayment, you own a home. Credit card debt is filthy.

Only loan sharks charge higher rates of interest - just - and it’s all too easy to spend what you’ve paid off the card in the previous month. Many of us have credit card debt, and many of us carry this debt like the proverbial ball and chain. It can weigh you down. Take the bolt cutters to the ball and chain and free yourself from the weight of credit card debt.

Here’s five tips to help you on the way:

tip1-image

Make a commitment

Frugal is the new black.

First things first, make a commitment to paying off your card(s). This will mean a few sacrifices and becoming the embodiment of frugal. Tighten the belt. It may mean a few months of saying no to a night out, or dinner plans, but in the end you won’t be burdened by always having a credit card debt hanging over your head - in the end, it’s worth it.

tip2-image

Consider a balance transfer

Why should you give your bank your hard earned money?

Once you’ve made a commitment to paying down the balance of your card(s), it’s time to organise your finances. A budget will come soon, but before you budget consider a balance transfer. A balance transfer is a great way to cut down the extra cash you have to fork out each month in interest repayments. There are some great offers out there at the moment, so take advantage of them. This will mean opening up a new credit card with a new bank, but there’s no loyalty in banking anymore, right?

To give you an idea of the type of cash a balance transfer can save you, if you’re currently getting charged 20% on a $5,000 balance, transferring this debt over to a card with a 0% for 12 months balance transfer promotional offer will save you approximately $800. This is money you would have had to pay to the bank in interest. Not bad, aye?

You can compare balance transfer credit cards in the table below.

Rates last updated December 11th, 2017
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Platinum card benefits plus 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers (with no BT fee) and $0 annual fee in the first year. Ends 13 December 2017.
NAB Premium Card - Exclusive Offer
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months
$90 p.a.
Exclusive to finder.com.au, enjoy a no BT fee, 0% balance transfer offer for 25 months and seven complimentary insurance covers.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers, earn 3 bonus Velocity Points per $1 for the first 3 months and get a yearly $129 Gift Voucher.
Citi Platinum Credit Card - 100k Bonus Points
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 100,000 reward Points, enjoy a long-term balance transfer offer, a discounted first year annual fee and complimentary travel insurance.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
Exclusive to finder, get 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months. Ends 17 December 2017.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$129 p.a.
Receive a 0% p.a. for 22 months balance transfer offer and earn 1 Reward Point per $1 of eligible spend. Plus, complimentary travel insurance.
St.George Vertigo Visa - Online Offer
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers (with no BT fee). Plus, $0 annual fee in the first year. Ends 13 December 2017.
Westpac Low Rate Card - Online Only Balance Transfer Offer
13.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$59 p.a.
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee when you apply online by 31 January 2018.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$49 p.a.
Receive a discounted annual fee, $100 cashback when you meet the spend requirement and up to 14 months interest-free on balance transfers.
NAB Low Fee Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
Receive complimentary purchase protection insurance, a 16 month balance transfer offer and special offers from Visa Entertainment.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$79 p.a.
Receive a long-term balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 24 months, a low ongoing purchase rate and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
Offers a long-term balance transfer, low ongoing purchase rate, complimentary travel insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
NAB Low Rate Platinum Card
0% p.a. for 9 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
4.99% p.a. for 6 months
$100 p.a.
A platinum card that offers 0% p.a. for 9 months on purchases. Plus 4.99% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a long-term balance transfer. Earn extra points on eligible international spend, plus complimentary travel insurance.
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a $50 eGift Card when you meet the offer criteria, a 0% p.a. for 14 month balance transfer offer and a $0 first year annual fee.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
Receive a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 24 months, complimentary travel insurance and 0% foreign transaction fees.
BankSA Vertigo Visa
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Save with a $0 first year annual fee and a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
American Express Essential Credit Card
14.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 3% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Get Smartphone Screen Insurance of up to $500 when you pay for your phone or contract with this card. Plus, a $0 annual fee for life.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$395 p.a.
Receive a yearly $400 Travel Credit, 50,000 bonus points and up to 2 entries per year to the American Express Lounge at Sydney International Airport.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 6 months
$129 p.a.
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases for 14 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months. Plus, earn up to 0.66 Velocity Points per $1 spent.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 60,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on eligible spend and enjoy a discounted annual fee of $64 for the first year.
Australian Military Bank Low Rate Visa Credit Card
10.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$49 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for 12 month balance transfer offer with no BT fee, up to 55 interest-free days on purchases, add an additional cardholder for $0.
St.George Amplify Card
19.49% p.a.
3% p.a. for 36 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of a 3% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 36 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee and 1.00 Amplify Point per $1 spent.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Card
19.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$79 p.a.
Take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer, earn 1 Amplify point per $1 spent and get up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.

Compare up to 4 providers

tip3-image

Come up with a budget

Plan, save, repay, repeat

Once you have an idea of how much your credit card repayments are going to be each month, it’s time to come up with a budget.

While you’re in ‘credit card debt reduction mode’, your discretionary income should be mainly used to pay down the balance of your card(s). That’s not to say you shouldn’t keep a few dollars aside (after you pay your bills and buy the necessities) for yourself, but remember what we said about becoming the embodiment of frugal? Any spare cash you have on hand should go towards your cards. The more you pay off your credit card(s) now, the less you will have to pay later.

Remember the saying, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’?

tip4-image

Empty your savings

Say sayonara to your ‘rainy day’ savings

Following on from the last point, apply all your extra cash to the cards. This includes any money you have in savings accounts.

Rule of thumb: you will pay more on credit card interest repayments than the return you get from any savings account in the market. So it’s logical to move the cash from your savings and dump it on your card.

It might be a good idea to leave a little in your savings account for an emergency, you don’t want to have to use the card(s) again if you can help it. But be prepared to say sayonara to the cash you had sitting around for a ‘rainy day’ or a holiday.

tip5-image

Pay the bills off one at a time

Start high then go low

This tip applies to people who have more than one credit card with a balance on it. It’s safe to assume that there’s a few people in this situation out there. To attack your credit card debt, pay the balance which attracts the highest rate of interest first, this balance will cost you the most in interest repayments - makes sense, right?

While you’re working at paying this balance down, make the minimum repayments on the other balances. When you’ve paid down the first debt, then move onto the balance which attracts the next highest rate of interest and so on.

Back to top

Following these simple tips can help you get out of your financial rut in almost no time. Just remember to stick to your budget and your commitment to being debt free.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

NAB Premium Card - Exclusive Offer
NAB Premium Card - Exclusive Offer

Interest rate

19.74

Annual fee

90
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer

Interest rate

12.74

Annual fee

99
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card

Interest rate

19.99

Annual fee

49

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
Ask a question