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Balance Transfer, Pay Down My Debt

The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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Updated – March 20, 2019

Digging out of credit card debt can feel frustrating, intimidating and ultimately impossible. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be any of those things if you learn how to take control.

Paying down debt is not only about finding the right financial tools, but also the right psychological ones. You need to understand why you racked up credit card debt in the first place. Perhaps it was a medical emergency or a home repair that needed to be taken care of immediately. Maybe you’d already drained your emergency fund on one piece of bad luck when misfortune struck again. Or maybe you’re struggling with a compulsive shopping problem, so paying down debt will likely result in you accumulating more until the addiction is addressed.

You also need to understand what motivates you to succeed. Do you want to pay down your credit card debt in the absolute fastest amount of time possible that will save more money or do you want to take some little wins along the way to keep yourself motivated?

Here’s a couple strategies consider as you learn the best way to handle credit card debt — and pay it off quickly.

2 common credit card debt repayment strategies

These repayment strategies can help you pay off credit card debt quickly. Keep in mind, you can use these strategies even for non-credit-card debt:

  • Debt avalanche: Focus on paying off the credit card with the highest interest rate first. Then, work your way down. This strategy can save you money on interest and get you out of debt sooner.
  • Debt snowball: Pay off your smallest debts first. Doing so can motivate you to continue making payments as you climb out of debt.

You don’t necessarily need to pick the repayment strategy that gets you out of debt the fastest. After all, if your repayment strategy doesn’t keep you motivated, you may not stick to it.

Using a personal loan or balance transfer credit card

As you seek to repay your debt, you could consider a personal loan or balance transfer credit card with a lower interest rate than on your existing debt. Transferring your debt to one of these financial products could help you reduce long-term interest costs.

But you’ll first need to learn whether or not you’re eligible. Your credit score will play a big role in determining your eligibility for a personal loan or balance transfer card. Use our widget below to figure out if a personal loan or a balance transfer is the best option for you!

What’s the best option for me?

Please enter information below and we’ll provide the best option to consolidate your credit card debt!

If you have a credit score above 640, you have a good chance of qualifying for a personal loan at a much lower interest rate than your credit card debt. With new internet-only personal loan companies, you can shop for loans without hurting your score. In just a few minutes, with a simple online form, you can get matched with multiple lenders. People with excellent credit can see APRs below 10%. But even if your credit isn’t perfect, you might be able to find a good loan to fit your needs.

Not sure what your credit score is? Click here to learn how and where to find out. If you know your credit score needs some work but not sure of what can be done, click here.

If you have a score above 700, you could also qualify for 0% balance transfer offers. We will talk more about balance transfers below but this option is the best way to pay off credit card debt if you’re able to qualify for a 0% APR balance transfer credit card.

A credit score of less than 600 will make it difficult for you to qualify for either option. If you have a credit score less than 640, struggling to make monthly debt payments and would like to explore your options to reduce your debt by up to 50%, then please click our option below to customize a personal debt relief plan.

Custom Debt Relief Plan

Now let’s talk about the financial tools to add to your debt repayment strategy in order to dig out of the hole.

Let’s say you have $10,000 in credit card debt, and are stuck paying 18% interest on it.

You already know that putting as much spare cash as you can toward paying down your debt is the most important thing to do. But once you’ve done that, so what’s next?

Use your good credit to make banks compete and cut your rates

You could save $1,800 a year in interest and lower your monthly payments based on several of the rates available today. That means you could pay it off almost 20% faster.

Here’s how it works.

Option One: Use a Balance Transfer (or Multiple Balance Transfers)


If you trust yourself to open a new credit card but not spend on it, consider a balance transfer. You may be able to cut your rate with a long 0% intro APR. You need to have a good credit score, and you might not get approved for the full amount that you want to transfer.

Your own bank might not give you a lower rate (or only drop it by a few percent), but there are lots of competing banks that may want to steal the business and give you a better rate.

Discover it® Balance Transfer

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Annual fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 6 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 18 months
Balance Transfer Fee
3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Intro BT APR
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer Fee
3%
Regular Purchase APR
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
Rewards Rate
1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

MagnifyMoney regularly surveys the market to find the best balance transfer credit cards. If you would like to see what other options exist, beyond Chase and Discover, you can start there.

promo-balancetransfer-halfIt also has tips to make sure you do a balance transfer safely. If you follow them you’ll save thousands on your debt by remaining disciplined.

You might be scared of a balance transfer, but there is no faster way to cut your interest payments than taking advantage of the best 0% or low interest deals banks are offering.

Thanks to recent laws, balance transfers aren’t as sneaky as they used to be, and friendlier for helping you cut your debt.

Sometimes the first bank you deal with won’t give you a big enough credit line to handle all your credit card debt. Maybe you’ll get a $5,000 credit line for a 0% deal, but have $10,000 in debt. That’s okay. In that case, apply for the next best balance transfer deal you see. MagnifyMoney’s list of deals makes it easy to sort them.

Banks are okay with you shopping around for more than one deal.

Option Two: Personal Loan

If you never want to see another credit card again, you should consider a personal loan. You can get prequalified at multiple lenders without hurting your credit score, and find the best deal to pay off your debt faster.

Personal loan interest rates are often about 10-20%, but can sometimes be as low as 5-6% if you have very good credit.

Moving from 18% interest on a credit card to 10% on a personal loan is a good deal for you. You’ll also get one set monthly payment, and pay off the whole thing in 3 to 5 years.

Sometimes this may mean a higher monthly payment than you’re used to, but you’re better off putting your cash toward a higher payment with a lower rate.

And you’ll get out of debt months or years faster by leaving more money to pay down the debt itself. If you want to shop for a personal loan, we recommend starting at LendingTree. With a single online form, dozens of lenders will compete for your business. Only a soft credit pull is completed, so your credit score will not be harmed. People with excellent scores can see low APRs (sometimes below 6%). And people with less than perfect scores still have a good chance of finding a lender to approve them.

LendingTree
APR

As low as 3.99%

Credit Req.

Minimum 500 FICO®

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company

Advertiser Disclosure

LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that you may be able to compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online and you may be pre-qualified by lenders without impacting your credit score. LendingTree is not a lender.


A Personal Loan can offer funds relatively quickly once you qualify you could have your funds within a few days to a week. A loan can be fixed for a term and rate or variable with fluctuating amount due and rate assessed, be sure to speak with your loan officer about the actual term and rate you may qualify for based on your credit history and ability to repay the loan. A personal loan can assist in paying off high-interest rate balances with one fixed term payment, so it is important that you try to obtain a fixed term and rate if your goal is to reduce your debt. Some lenders may require that you have an account with them already and for a prescribed period of time in order to qualify for better rates on their personal loan products. Lenders may charge an origination fee generally around 1% of the amount sought. Be sure to ask about all fees, costs and terms associated with each loan product. Loan amounts of $1,000 up to $50,000 are available through participating lenders; however, your state, credit history, credit score, personal financial situation, and lender underwriting criteria can impact the amount, fees, terms and rates offered. Ask your loan officer for details.

As of 17-May-19, LendingTree Personal Loan consumers were seeing match rates as low as 3.99% (3.99% APR) on a $10,000 loan amount for a term of three (3) years. Rates and APRs were based on a self-identified credit score of 700 or higher, zero down payment, origination fees of $0 to $100 (depending on loan amount and term selected).

If you don’t want to shop at LendingTree, you can see our list of the best personal loans here.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Brian Karimzad
Brian Karimzad |

Brian Karimzad is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brian at [email protected]

Advertiser Disclosure

Balance Transfer

5 Things to Do Once Your Balance Transfer is Complete

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

iStock

Now that you’ve been approved for a balance transfer card and completed your transfer, you’re on your way to becoming debt-free. The lingering debt you had on another credit card will no longer be charged high interest rates during the 0% intro APR period on your new card. However, you won’t rid yourself of debt by simply transferring your balance — there’s much more you’ll need to do.

Your journey to becoming debt free has just begun. By following the steps below, you can soon be on your way to a healthier financial life.

Discover it® Balance Transfer

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Annual fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 6 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 18 months
Balance Transfer Fee
3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Intro Purchase APR
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Intro BT APR
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular Purchase APR
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

5 things you need to do once your balance transfer is complete:

1. Cut up your new card.

New purchases will only push you back into debt. While it may be tempting to use your new card for purchases, resist the urge. Charging new purchases to your balance transfer card has the potential to further increase your debt.

Purchases may not qualify for that 0% intro APR. New purchases will often be charged the card’s standard interest rate, unless your new balance transfer card also offers a 0% intro APR period for purchases.

Payments made on your new card may not go fully towards new purchases. Credit card issuers have the freedom to allocate your minimum payment towards whatever debt you have. This means that your minimum payment may go towards your balance with the 0% intro APR, not your newest charges. This may lead you to rack up interest charges from your new purchase balance.

What if you need to charge new purchases to a credit card after a balance transfer? First, take a real hard look at the expense and whether it’s actually necessary. If you’re already looking to rack up new credit debt so soon after completing a balance transfer, there may be a bigger spending issue at play here.

Try to pay for the item in cash, so you won’t have to worry about racking up additional debt.

As a last resort, we’d suggest using your old credit card to pay for new purchases. All payments you make will go towards your balance — no need to worry about where the payment goes. Beware if you carry a balance you will be charged the standard purchase APR. So, any charges that you do make on your old card should be paid in full before the statement due date.

2. Don’t close your old credit card.

You could hurt your credit score if you do. You may be tempted to close the card you transferred debt from, but cancelling an old card can do more damage than good. It’s more beneficial to keep your old card open, since the average length of your credit history is a big factor of your credit score — and the longer your credit history, the better.

While opening a new card lowers your average length of credit history, it doesn’t lower it as much as closing your old card would. For example, if your old card has been open for 10 years, and you open a new balance transfer card, the average length of your credit history will be five years. But, if you closed your old account, it would drop to less than a year — which is a big difference.

Closing your old card would also hurt your utilization rate. This is an even bigger factor in your credit score. Utilization is the amount of your total credit limit you use — so, if you spend $2,000 a month across two credit cards with a combined limit of $8,000, your utilization would be 25%.

3. Set up autopay — and pay more than the minimum due.

Autopay is a great feature that can prevent you from missing payments and incurring late fees. It’s also a helpful way to set up automatic payments that are greater than the minimum due — which can lead to a significant reduction in your debt, since paying only the minimum due isn’t enough to rid yourself of debt.

Once you figure out how much you can afford to put towards your debt each month, set up autopay for that amount — like, say, $200 — and watch your debt decrease. You can always adjust your autopay settings to higher or lower amounts, as needed.

4. Set a calendar reminder for two months before your balance transfer expires.

If you don’t pay off your balance before the intro period ends, any balance remaining will be charged the standard interest rate. Some cards may also charge you all the interest you accrued and didn’t pay during the intro period — called deferred interest. Though this is uncommon with cards from major credit card issuers, it’s something to keep in mind if you think you may continue to carry a balance post intro period.

We understand you may not be able to pay off your balance during the intro period, and that’s okay. You still have options to avoid accruing interest. One option is to apply for a new balance transfer card, so you can take advantage of another 0% intro APR period. Just remember that balances can’t be transferred between cards from the same issuer.

The other option is to take out a personal loan. You can consolidate debt from your credit card by taking out a personal loan that often has lower interest rates and more flexible credit requirements than balance transfer credit cards. Compare personal loan offers here.

5. Start budgeting.

You just completed a balance transfer, so the odds are you may not have the best financial management skills — but that’s okay. You can still take steps towards managing your finances by creating a budget, and it can be as simple or as detailed as you like. There are several different types of budgets that you can do, like the penny tracker or the “leftovers” spender, that can help you take control of your spending — and there are plenty of free budgeting apps that you can compare here.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at [email protected]

Advertiser Disclosure

Balance Transfer

How To Do a Balance Transfer With Chase

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Balance transfers can be a great way to finally rid yourself of lingering debt. By transferring debt on a high interest credit card to a card with an introductory interest-free period, you can save money on interest payments and benefit from more time to pay off your debt. In this guide, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to complete a balance transfer with Chase online and over the phone; the whole process should only take a few minutes. Keep in mind, however, that you can’t complete a balance transfer with Chase if your debt is on another Chase card — in that case, check out our full list of balance transfer cards here. Otherwise, if you are considering transferring your credit card balance from a non-Chase card, our recommended Chase card is the Chase Freedom®.

Chase Freedom®

The information related to Chase Freedom® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Intro BT APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee
3% when you transfer during the first 60 days of account opening, with a minimum of $5
Credit required
good-credit

Excellent/Good

After the instructions, we list some best practices for completing a balance transfer with Chase.

Complete your transfer online

1. Login to your account. Click on “Pay & transfer” then select “Card balance transfers.”

2. Choose an offer. You should see your intro balance transfer offer listed. If your intro offer isn’t listed, contact a Chase rep. If you’ve had your card for a while, there may be no intro BT offer available, but sometimes Chase periodically has new offers.

3. Input the account number of the credit card with your debt and the amount that you want to transfer. The amount you enter must not be greater than $15,000 or greater than your available credit limit (including any fees). If you enter an invalid amount, a box will appear stating the exact maximum amount you’re able to transfer.

4. Next, you’ll review the terms and conditions associated with your offer. Once you read them, check the box below the T&C and click “Agree & continue.”

5. Lastly, review and confirm the balance transfer request is accurate and click “Set up transfer” to request your balance transfer.

 

Complete your transfer by phone

If you rather complete a transfer over the phone, simply call the number on the back of your card to speak to a representative. Have the following information ready:

  • Name on the account with the debt
  • Amount to be transferred

Chase balance transfer rules

  • Request your balance transfer as soon as possible. Chase requires balance transfers to be completed within 60 days from account opening to take advantage of intro offers.
  • Review the terms of your balance transfer offer to verify they’re correct. Make sure you receive the offer you expected and note when the intro period ends.
  • Continue to make payments towards your balance until the balance transfer posts to your account. This may take up to three weeks.
  • Pay each bill on time — late payments may cause Chase to cancel the offer.
  • Keep spending to a minimum so you don’t rack up more debt. Your goal should be to pay off your balance and excessive spending can lead you to fall into more debt.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at [email protected]