I Maxed Out My Credit Card – What Can I Do?

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A maxed out credit card can hold up your financial growth.

Maxing out a credit card can place a lot of stress on your finances and your life. Here are a few key steps you can take to get your spending under control and pay off your card.

What does maxed out mean?

Maxing out your credit card means you’ve reached your credit limit and can’t use the card for any further purchases. To start using your credit card for purchases again, you’ll need to pay off some of your card balance.

What to do if you maxed out your credit card

If you’ve maxed out your credit card and are having trouble paying down your balance, here are the steps you should take to pay off your credit card balance in full.

Stop Spending

If you keep making purchases on your card each month, you’ll likely keep bumping up against your credit limit, making it difficult to pay off your card.

If you need some help to curb your spending, try making it more difficult to use your credit card. For example, you might take you credit cards out of your wallet for trips where you don’t plan on purchasing anything.

Create a Plan/Budget

Consider writing down all your expenses and sorting them by fixed expenses and variable expenses. Fixed expenses are things such as mortgage or rent, car payments, utilities, etc. Variable expenses include items such as gas, groceries and restaurants.

Then take your income and budget it out for each of these expenses. Once complete, see if you have any money left or if you’ve over budgeted your income.

If you have extra money, put towards either creating a savings account or paying off your credit cards. It’s important to create a savings account if you already don’t have one. It may seem difficult to put money into savings while you still have a lot of credit card debt, but it helps you stay prepared for unforeseen events. Anything that doesn’t go into your savings account should then go toward your credit card balance.

Compare Balance Transfer credit cards

Name Product Amount saved Balance transfer APR Balance transfer fee Recommended minimum credit score Filter values
Citi Simplicity® Card
0% intro for the first 21 months (then 16.24% to 26.24% variable)
$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Enjoy one of the longest intro APRs on balance transfers, no late fees, no penalty rate and no annual fee.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.49% to 25.49% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 24.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
The only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.49%, 21.49% or 25.49% variable)
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
American Express Cash Magnet® Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.49% to 25.49% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Unlimited 1.5% cash back. Rates & fees

Compare up to 4 providers

Perform a balance transfer to a new credit card

It is sometimes hard to pay more than the minimum balance if you have a high interest rate. Look to see if there is another card with a lower interest rate. Once you find a credit card with a lower interest rate, see if that credit card company will allow you to transfer your balance. Check out our balance transfer page for more information.

Bottom line

While it can feel impossible to get out from under a maxed out credit card, a little planning can chip away at your balance. Take care to monitor your finances and stick to your budget and you’ll have your card paid down soon enough. Take advantage of a balance transfer credit card for an extra edge in paying down your balance.

Pictures: Getty Images

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