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

Information verified correct on September 27th, 2016

Ball and chain

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:

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.

St.George Vertigo Visa

Reduce interest repayments by transferring a balance

If you want to get a deal in addition to your credit card repayments and reduce the amount of interest you pay each month, a balance transfer is a great way to start.

  • $55 p.a. annual fee
  • 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) on purchases
  • 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers
  • Cash Advance Rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest free

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 September 27th, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Offers 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 18 months to help you manage your existing credit card balance with a reduced annual fee in the first year.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
Westpac 55 Day credit card
Enjoy a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 16 months, an introductory purchase rate of 1% p.a. for up to 12 months, plus a waived annual fee for the first year if applied by 11 October 2016.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 19.84% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 16 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($30 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info
Westpac Low Rate Card
A no frills credit card with an introductory rate of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.49% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $59 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Platinum
A platinum card with a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 20 months and an introductory purchase offer of 1% p.a. for 12 months with an annual fee waiver for the first year.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 20 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
The NAB Low Rate Card offers 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. This card also comes with a low annual fee.
0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee $59 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ First Visa Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Take advantage of this exclusive offer and enjoy 0% p.a. for the first 12 months on balance transfers and 0% p.a. for the first 3 months on purchases.
0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 12 months $30 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
Enjoy a long term balance transfer plus a $100 cashback offer (spend criteria applies) and never pay an annual fee for this card.
18.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Fee Card
Enjoy a low introductory rate of 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months.
0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee $30 p.a. Go to site More info

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’?

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.

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.

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Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated September 27th, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
11.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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