Financial advisors often warn consumers never to charge more than they can pay off right away. Though many may open credit card accounts with the intention of following that advice, it often becomes too tempting — or necessary – to pay only the minimum amount and carry a balance. This is why millions of Americans, including many in South Carolina, are trying to manage credit card debt that has gotten out of control.
Paying off a credit card is not easy because credit card issuers often charge very high interest rates and tack on fees for going over the limit or paying late. Consumer advocates recommend three ways to pay down credit card balances quickly. One is known as the avalanche method.
Using this method, a credit card holder begins by paying off the balance with the highest interest rate first. When that card is paid off, the consumer then adds that payment to the card with the next highest interest, and so forth. This cannot be done by making a minimum payment, so additional funds are needed each month.
An alternate version of this is the snowball method, which is to pay off the card with the lowest balance first. While this may leave a consumer paying more interest for a longer time, it is often psychologically satisfying enough to keep the card holder motivated. Finally, one can use the blizzard method, which begins by paying off the lowest balance for motivation, then switches to the cards with the higher interest.
The difficulty with any method of paying off credit card debt is that it requires someone to come up with additional money that simply may not exist if the card holder is overburdened with debt. In this case, eliminating as much debt as possible may be the best alternative. One may accomplish this by filing for bankruptcy, which will allow a fresh financial start. Speaking with a bankruptcy attorney in South Carolina can provide one with information about the options that best suit each situation.
Source: barrons.com, “3 Ways to Think About Paying Off Credit-Card Debt”, Emily Bary, May 8, 2017