How to get rid of credit card debt in 2020
To get rid of credit card debt successfully, a person needs to choose the right solution. So many people set their New Year’s Resolution to pay off all of their credit card debt, but end up failing because they chose the wrong path.
Here’s the problem; there is no one particular method that’s going to be the right solution for everyone. People end up choosing the wrong plan, and they fail. And you can’t magically erase credit card debt. All debt relief options take time and effort to complete. Today’s post will show you the ten best ways to quickly get rid of credit card debt, based on what’s been proven to work for Americans over the past two decades. You can then decide what your best option is!
Here is one factor that is the same for everyone reading this post: According to CNBC, “Americans’ debt is on the rise. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently found that the overall debt held by American households is now higher than previous peaks seen ahead of the 2008 financial crisis. And with credit card interest hitting record highs, it can be more expensive than ever to let that monthly balance roll over.” Therefore, anyone with a large amount of credit card debt must prioritize paying it off. And don’t just strive to pay your balances down to under 30% of the limit–pay it off “in full” so that you can receive the maximum benefits.
Without further ado, here are the ten best ways to quickly get rid of large credit card debt in 2020!
10 Best Ways to Get Rid of Credit Card Debt
- 1. Debt Snowball Method Clears Debt Fast & Improves Credit Scores
- 2. The Debt Avalanche – Another Proven Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategy
- 3. Use a Balance Transfer Card to Get Rid Of High-Interest Credit Cards
- 4. Home Equity Line of Credit – Replaces High-Interest Accounts & Offers One Low Payment
- 5. Negotiate With Credit Card Companies to Permanently Get Rid of High-Interest Rates
- 6. Credit Card Hardship Program with Bank (without hurting credit score)
- 7. Debt Validation – Least Expensive Way to Get Rid Of Debt
- 8. Debt Settlement Services Can Get Rid Of Unsecured Debt in 24-48 Months
- 9. Consumer Credit Counseling to Pay Off Credit Cards in Less Than Five Years
- 10. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy – Clears Credit Card Debt in Under 6 Months
1. Debt Snowball Method Clears Debt Fast & Improves Credit
This first option is the best option to get rid of credit card debt for anyone that:
- needs to get out of credit card debt fast without hurting their credit
- can afford to pay more than minimum payments
- is current on all credit card payments
- has the two main goals of; A) raising credit scores and B) saving money
The debt snowball method, created by Dave Ramsey, is when you pay minimum payments on all of your credit cards besides the account with the smallest balance. You will pay the minimum payment, plus whatever extra money you have, towards paying off that smallest debt first.
You get the quickest results by going after the smallest account first, and that’s precisely why we go after the low debt first. Within a few months, you could have it paid in full. By seeing fast results, you instantly get motivated to see more positive results and keep going. You realize that the plan is already working!
After you get rid of the smallest debt, shift your attention to the next smallest debt in line. One by one, you will continue to pay off each debt. Continue on this path until you are debt-free.
What if I don’t have any extra money?
A recent post on Golden Financial stated:
“A budget analysis will provide you with a visual image of where your money is going, making it easier to find non-essential expenses that can be reduced or eliminated. (example: lower the electric and heat bill, use coupons when shopping to save money at the grocery store, remove the HBO that you never watch, and cancel that old subscription that you forgot was billing you each month). You can then use this snowball calculator tool to figure out how long it will take for you to become debt-free. The debt snowball calculator does all of the work. Just enter each debt that you want to include in the snowball plan, and let the calculator work its magic. You can then download the information or save it; however, you choose and follow the plan.”
What is it about the debt snowball method that makes it so effective?
Dave Ramsey explains: “The debt snowball method works because it’s all about behavior modification, not math. When it all boils down, hope has more to do with this equation than math ever will.
If you start paying on the student loan first because it’s the largest debt, you won’t get rid of it for a while. You’ll see numbers going down on the balance, but pretty soon, you’ll lose steam and stop paying extra. Why? Because it’s taking forever to get a win! And you’ll still have all your other small, annoying debts hanging around too.”
A Final Tip to Raise Your Credit Score:
Keep your credit cards open after paying off the balances so that your credit score improves. If you close a credit card account, your credit score will decline because your credit utilization ratio will be adversely affected. The length of credit history will also be reduced by closing your credit cards, another negative affect.
2. The Debt Avalanche – Another Proven Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategy
With the debt avalanche method, you order your debts by their interest rate (i.e., high-interest accounts, to low-interest accounts). Instead of paying off your smallest credit card debt first, you would pay off the credit card balance with the highest interest rate first. By getting rid of the debt with the highest interest rate, you are eliminating the most expensive account first. The debt avalanche method can save you more money over the long-term than the debt snowball method.
On the flip-side, the debt snowball method has a higher success rate. More people successfully pay off all of their debt with the snowball method, than with the avalanche method. Think of it this way, the account with the highest interest rate could also have the largest balance and could end up taking over a year to pay off. People end up getting frustrated because, after a year, they still have not paid off any debt. It comes down to your personality type.
You may decide to use a combination of the debt snowball and avalanche method. In the beginning, you may use the debt snowball method, focussing on getting rid of the small debts first. Then after quickly knocking off the first few small debts, you can shift your focus towards the accounts that are costing you the most.
At NerdWallet.com, they offer an excellent Debt avalanche calculator tool.
3. Use a Balance Transfer Card to Get Rid Of High-Interest Credit Cards
“Get Approved Now For a Low Rate Balance Transfer Card | Zero Percent Interest. Apply!”
These ads scattered across the internet can be appealing until you read the fine print; “after 12-18 months, the introductory rate comes to an end, and the interest rate rises to 19.9%.” Balance transfer credit cards also come with up-front fees. These fees range from 3%-5% of the amount of credit card debt getting transferred. If you move $20,000 onto a balance transfer card that charges a 4% fee, that’s $800 in up-front costs.
Banks use balance transfer cards as a trap. Credit card companies charge you on the upfront fee, and when you can’t pay off your entire balance within the introduction-rate period, they can jack up the interest rates.
When is a balance transfer card worth it?
- If you can afford to pay the balance “in full” within the 12-18-month introductory period
- If the balance transfer card offers you more attractive reward points and cash-back options than your existing cards
Final Tip to Improve Your Credit Score
Keep your credit card accounts open after paying off the balances with your new balance transfer card.
4. Home Equity Line of Credit – Replaces High-Interest Accounts & Offers One Low Payment
When using a home equity line of credit to pay off credit card debt, you’re taking on considerable risk. You’re swapping unsecured debt for secured debt. If you stop paying on the home equity line of credit, the bank could take your home. Is it worth taking on the risk of losing your property over credit card debt?
Don’t do it, unless:
- you have a stable job
- you have a steady income
- your three main goals are: 1) get a low payment 2) have a low-interest rate so that you can save money on interest and 3) preserve your high credit score
According to Bankrate.com, 5.56% is the average interest rate on a home equity line of credit. With interest rates this low, you can save a lot of money on high-interest credit cards. Just make sure there’s no possible way that you’d ever fall behind on the payments!
5. Negotiate With Credit Card Companies to Permanently Get Rid of High-Interest Rates
Negotiate directly with your creditors to cut the interest rates and monthly payments permanently. In many cases, all it takes is a phone call.
Use this script:
Call your creditor and ask to speak with a Supervisor because only a Supervisor will have the authority to make these changes. Say the following:
“Hello ____, how are you today? I’ve been a loyal client for ___ years now and have always paid my bills on time, so I am hoping that you can help me today so that I can keep my credit card account open with your bank. Your hands may be tied, and you may not have any power to help me here, but I figured I’d try to openly communicate with you about this matter before just closing my card. I want to stay with your bank as you guys have always been good to me. Anyway, here’s my situation; _______ bank offered me a ___% interest rate on a similar card with 3% cash back included. Since this interest rate is ___% less than what your card is offering me, I’ve decided to close this card out and switch to the new card that ____ bank is offering me. Unless of course, you can reduce my interest rate or upgrade my card to match what _____ bank is offering, and offer me some similar cash back. Can you please try to help me so that we can continue working together? “Then go silent.
The next four options will illustrate the best credit card relief programs for 2020.
6. Credit Card Hardship Program with Bank (without hurting credit score)
A bank’s credit card hardship program is the absolute best way to reduce credit card debt, temporarily.
Maybe you’re transitioning jobs, and only need a few months of a debt reduction.
If you’re going through a financial hardship but expect your situation to improve, this may be your best bet.
To be considered for a bank’s credit card hardship program, you must be behind on your monthly payment, but not to the point where your credit report is negatively affected.
Steps to get approved for your bank’s credit card hardship program
- The key is to call your creditor in 7-10 days after you miss the monthly payment. Late payment history doesn’t get reported to the credit reporting agencies until you’re more than 29 days past due.
- To make your case even stronger, send the creditor a copy of your budget analysis, a financial hardship letter and evidence to validate your reason for needing a lower payment, before calling them.
- Call your creditor but request to speak to a supervisor because they have the authority to reduce your monthly payment. Let the supervisor know that you’re calling to see if they can temporarily lower your monthly payment. Go over the fact that you could not afford to make your last monthly payment and explain why. Include the details of your financial hardship. Make sure to keep your story in line with what you stated in the hardship letter. Also, reassure your creditor that your financial hardship is only temporary and provide an estimate for how long you’ll need the relief.
- The supervisor will ask you a series of questions related to your income. At that point, verify that they received your budget analysis, hardship letter, and whatever documentation you sent. Use this free budget calculator to create your budget.
You’ll get rejected from a bank’s credit card hardship program if your income is too low due to “insufficient income.” If your income is too high, they will also reject you because they won’t consider you to have a “true financial hardship.” There is no set number, but as a general rule of thumb, consider showing that you could reasonably afford about half of the projected monthly payment that is currently required.
7. Debt Validation – Least Expensive Way to Get Rid Of Debt
Are you behind on payments and have late and derogatory marks on your credit report? Owe above $7,500 in total unsecured debt?
Before signing up for a debt settlement program, consider debt validation.
Debt validation can’t magically erase your debt, but it can be the most effective and least expensive route to dealing with unsecured debt and adverse credit.
Technically speaking, debt validation does not get rid of your debt. Instead, what debt validation results in is your debt becoming legally uncollectible. A legally uncollectible debt does not have to get paid, and it can’t legally remain on credit reports.
Benefits of Debt Validation VS. Debt Settlement
- Pay less than what you would pay if settling a debt
- After a debt is proven to be legally uncollectible, it can no longer legally remain on credit reports
- The average plan is for 36 months, versus, 42 months on settlement
- No taxes owed if a debt is proven to be invalid
- Money-back guarantee
American Express Invalidated & Removed From Credit
Call Golden Financial Services at (866) 376-9846.
See if you qualify for debt validation!
8. Debt Settlement Services Can Get Rid Of Unsecured Debt in 24-48 Months
If you can’t afford to stay current on your credit card payments, debt settlement can reduce the balances to be affordable.
Debt settlement makes getting rid of debt easy to accomplish if you can stomach the adverse effect on your credit and creditors calling you every day.
Debt settlement is also the backup plan to reduce a debt if a debt is validated on a debt validation program or if a summons is received.
Let’s look at an example of how much money a person can save with debt settlement.
A debt settlement program could resolve $50,000 worth of credit card debt for $30,602. When paid over three years, that would result in a monthly payment of $850.
Negative consequences of debt settlement include:
- Credit can get adversely affected
- There is no guarantee
- Potential tax consequences
- Late fees and interest can cause balances to increase over the first year of the program
- A creditor could issue a person a summons to go to court, and although this is rare, it could happen
Contact Golden Financial Services Today, and We Can Help You Get Approved For the Lowest Possible Payment. (866) 376-9846
9. Consumer Credit Counseling to Pay Off Credit Cards in Less Than Five Years
Too many credit card payments every month?
After getting approved for consumer credit counseling, you will have only one payment every month.
Your monthly payment is made directly to the credit counseling company.
The company will then disburse payments to each of your creditors every month, but at a lower interest rate.
Consumer credit counseling programs can get consumers out of credit card debt in just under five years.
Established credit counseling agencies have arrangements with creditors already in place. That’s how they can quote you a lower interest rate, as they already know what they can do for you ahead of time.
It’s common to see 25% interest rates get reduced to 8%-10%. You can get rid of credit card debt in just under five years with consumer credit counseling plans. One of the main benefits of CCC is that credit scores won’t get negatively affected.
10. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy – Clears Credit Card Debt in Under 6 Months
Why is Chapter 7, the preferred way of bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes away credit card debt so that it doesn’t have to get paid.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy only lasts for 3-6 months, making this the fastest way to get rid of credit card debt in 2020.
Most people won’t qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy and get forced to file chapter 13 bankruptcy, where at least half of their debt must get paid back over five years.
Here’s an easy-to-read bankruptcy guide to help you learn more about bankruptcy.