As interest rates rise, here are ways to cut credit card costs

More than half of credit card users in this country carry a balance, and that is quickly getting more expensive as interest rates rise. But there are some big steps you can take right now that can potentially save you thousands of dollars. Swiping your credit card comes with a steep cost if you’re one of the millions of Americans who don’t pay their bill in full. Average credit card interest hit a record high last week – 17.92% – according to a new survey by CreditCards.com. Among Americans who carry a balance, the average amount is $ 5,010 according to the credit reporting agency TransUnion. The average balance is on the rise, and that means interest can easily cost consumers hundreds of dollars per year, said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. “If you make minimum payments on $ 5,010 at 17.92% you’re going to be in debt for almost 16 years and you’re going to end up paying more than $ 6,100 in interest,” Rossman said. “The minimum payment math is just brutal.” But Rossman said there are a few easy ways to save, even if you can’t pay down your balance right now. First, he said to consider transferring that balance to a new card that has a zero-percent introductory offer. “The good news is that it’s a competitive market and you can use that to your advantage,” Rossman said. “In terms of the top of the market, it’s remained remarkably stable at 21 months.” Zero percent for 21 months means almost two years to pay down a balance without interest. Rossman said the top zero percent offers do usually come with a flat transfer fee of three to five percent, but that’s significantly less than the cost of interest. His advice from lui is not to make any new purchases with the zero percent card. “Sometimes they try to tempt you with a zero percent rate that also applies to new purchases,” he said. “I say move the balance and then just divide what you owe by the number of months in your zero percent term.” Some other strategies: Consider a personal loan, which usually comes with a lower interest rate. Call your credit card and ask for a lower rate. This works best if you’re a long-time cardholder with good credit. As real estate values ​​skyrocket, homeowners could tap a home equity line of credit. Rossman, though, cautions against that since it ties your debt to your home. Whatever the strategy, Rossman said to pay down credit card debt as soon as possible with interest rates still rising. “It almost doesn’t matter at this point whether ( your rate is) 16, 17, 18, 19 percent – they’re all high, “Rossman said. “I think it underscores the importance of paying down credit card debt in particular.” Rossman said it is also best not to withdraw or borrow money from a retirement plan to pay credit card debt, as every cent taken out now can cost someone big down the road. Click here to access a good search tool via creditcards.com.

More than half of credit card users in this country carry a balance, and that is quickly getting more expensive as interest rates rise.

But there are some big steps you can take right now that can potentially save you thousands of dollars.

Swiping your credit card comes with a steep cost if you’re one of the millions of Americans who don’t pay their bill in full. Average credit card interest hit a record high last week – 17.92% – according to a new survey by CreditCards.com.

Among Americans who carry a balance, the average amount is $ 5,010 according to the credit reporting agency TransUnion.

The average balance is on the rise, and that means interest can easily cost consumers hundreds of dollars per year, said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com.

“If you make minimum payments on $ 5,010 at 17.92% you’re going to be in debt for almost 16 years and you’re going to end up paying more than $ 6,100 in interest,” Rossman said. “The minimum payment math is just brutal.”

But Rossman said there are a few easy ways to save, even if you can’t pay down your balance right now. First, he said to consider transferring that balance to a new card that has a zero-percent introductory offer.

“The good news is that it’s a competitive market and you can use that to your advantage,” Rossman said. “In terms of the top of the market, it’s remained remarkably stable at 21 months.”

Zero percent for 21 months means almost two years to pay down a balance without interest.

Rossman said the top zero percent offers do usually come with a flat transfer fee of three to five percent, but that’s significantly less than the cost of interest. His advice by lui is not to make any new purchases with the zero percent card.

“Sometimes they try to tempt you with a zero percent rate that also applies to new purchases,” he said. “I say move the balance and then just divide what you owe by the number of months in your zero percent term.”

Some other strategies:

  • Consider a personal loan, which usually comes with a lower interest rate.
  • Call your credit card and ask for a lower rate. This works best if you’re a long-time cardholder with good credit.
  • As real estate values ​​skyrocket, homeowners could tap a home equity line of credit. Rossman, though, cautions against that since it ties your debt to your home.

Whatever the strategy, Rossman said to pay down credit card debt as soon as possible with interest rates still rising.

“It almost doesn’t matter at this point whether (your rate is) 16, 17, 18, 19 percent – they’re all high,” Rossman said. “I think it underscores the importance of paying down credit card debt in particular.”

Rossman said it is also best not to withdraw or borrow money from a retirement plan to pay credit card debt, as every cent taken out now can cost someone big down the road.

Click here to access a good search tool via creditcards.com.

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