If you’re drowning in credit card debt, you can at least take comfort in the fact you’re not alone. Though having credit is necessary to make large purchases and build a strong financial foundation, unfortunately, credit cards are one of the most expensive ways to borrow money.
Currently, Americans owe roughly $1 trillion in credit card debt, and borrowers paid $104 billion in interest fees in 2019 alone. When it comes to credit card debt, high-interest rates often make it a vicious and inescapable cycle.
Revolving debt means that even if you’re making the minimum payment on your cards each month, the amount you pay in interest on the debt you carry from month to month means it could take you years to pay off your balance in full.
Credit card debt can feel hopeless, but it is possible to regain control of your finances and eliminate your outstanding balances. Here are three proven methods for eliminating credit card debt and getting your life back on track:
1. The avalanche method
In the debt avalanche method, you’ll first focus on paying off your credit card with the highest interest rate while you continue making the minimum payment on your other cards. Then you’ll move to the card with the next highest interest rate, and so on. Experts recommend this method because you will pay less in interest and get out of debt more quickly.
2. The snowball method
Like the debt avalanche method, the debt snowball method has you pay off one credit card at a time while paying the monthly minimum on your other cards. However, with the debt snowball method, you will first focus on paying off the account with the smallest balance and gradually work your way to the largest. The snowball method is often successful because it gives borrowers small victories early on that keep them motivated to keep paying their debts.
3. Filing for consumer bankruptcy
While the idea of filing for bankruptcy may seem intimidating, the truth is it provides thousands of Americans with the fresh start they need to get out of insurmountable debt. While it’s not a decision you should take lightly, filing for consumer bankruptcy may help if:
- You’re frequently late or can’t afford your minimum monthly payments
- You’ve reached your credit limit on one or multiple credit cards
- You’re receiving harassing calls or notices from creditors
- Your wages are being garnished or property repossessed
When you’re facing a mountain of credit card debt, it can often feel like there’s no way out. However, by turning to one of these proven strategies, relief from debt can be just around the corner.