Credit card debt can be one of those things that sneaks up on you suddenly. You may be doing a great job staying on top of those repayments and only using your credit cards when you absolutely have to, but often it can become all too easy to start charging more and more to your credit cards. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’, until the statement arrives.
Consolidating credit card debt is one of the best ways to start getting back on top of your debts.
When you have multiple credit cards, each with different financial institutions, interest rates and rewards programs, it can become very complicated to keep track of what is due and when. It can also make it much trickier to pay off the credit card debt when you need to budget for repayments on each account. This can be risky and sometimes lead to missed repayments, excess credit and general financial disorganisation.
When you consolidate credit cards, you are left with one single credit card debt, with a single interest rate and single repayment each month, rather than needing to keep track of many. But how do you consolidate credit cards?
The first step to consolidate credit cards is to work out what your credit card debt looks like. Write down details on each card, the amount owing and the interest rate you are paying on the credit card debt.
The next step to consolidate credit cards is to find the best deal. When paying off debt is your goal, you want a low-interest credit card so you can reduce the amount of interest you are paying. One of your existing cards may offer this already, but if not, consider shopping around.
To consolidate credit cards, you will require a balance transfer to one account. Many credit card providers and financial institutions offer promotional balance transfer periods. They can be from 0% interest for a certain period, or at least offer a reduced interest rate for the balance that is transferred across. This is the best way to minimise your repayment amounts on credit card debt.
When consolidating your credit cards, there are a few things to be mindful of. Some promotional balance transfer periods are short, such as 6 months, before reverting to full interest rates. Work out if you will likely have paid your debt off in this time and if the full interest rate is better or worse than your existing credit card providers. If higher, it could end up worse for you in the long run if you still have a long way to go on paying off your debt.
There is of course the possibility of finding a new balance transfer promotion before the initial period is finished, however, this can be complicated and there is no guarantee you will be approved for each offer.
Keep track of your repayments, your debt amount and the interest rate you are paying on your consolidated credit card debt in order to stay in control of your finances and clear your debt sooner.
It is also a good idea to cancel all your existing credit card accounts that you are no longer using to take away the temptation of racking up new debt.