Deliverance from Debt: Your Credit Card Management Guide

Kill your credit card debt with these 8 tips.

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Tip: #1: Pay on time

The first tip is obvious for some and not so for others. Drum-roll please…

Always pay your credit card debt on time! Doing this will keep your credit history intact. A bad credit report hurts your chance of getting a loan, a mortgage or another credit card. The credit reporting system means lenders can see when you’ve missed a payment if you go to apply for another financial product. This is particularly important for people looking to transfer their credit card debt to another card under a balance transfer facility.

Tip: #2: Pay more than the minimum

If you can, pay more than the minimum payment required each month. Even better, pay the whole thing off each month and then start afresh.

Every little bit extra you can pay above the minimum each month will reduce the cash you have to fork out to cover interest charges down the track – this may mean a few sacrifices to get your debt under control.

If you have a $2,000 debt at just shy of 20% interest p.a. and you only pay the minimum amount each month of 2%, it will take you over forty years to pay back, and you will have paid over $5,000 in interest. However, pay an additional $50 above the minimum, you’ll pay the card off in three years and you will have paid just $500 in interest.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Tip: #3: Introductory offers should also be approached with caution

Whether it’s a balance transfer promotional offer or an introductory offer on purchases, if you can’t pay back the balance in the introductory period, think hard about the offer.

You need to know that the introductory period that you’re looking at is long enough to accommodate your repayment budget. Jumping at a 0% rate, failing to pay off your debt before the period expires, then being clobbered by a high regular rate of interest will be a disaster for your bank balance.

One tip here if you are looking for a balance transfer offer, is to check what the revert rates are if you are unable to repay the debt in time. Some cards revert to the purchase rate, whereas some revert to what is typically a higher cash advance rate.

Tip: #4: Haggle with your provider

Competition is fierce among credit card providers. They are always keen to keep their customers on board. You can ask your lender for an interest rate review. What’s the worst that can happen – they say, ‘no’? Your provider is all too aware of the promotional offers they give new customers, and the offers other banks can provide to you if you jump ship. They’re not going to see you walk away for the sake of a slight adjustment in your interest rate.

Tip: #5: Limit yourself

Credit limit increase invitations are something you have to agree to receive from the bank. But who’s ever heard of a credit limit decrease invitation? No one, that’s who. That’s because they don’t exist.

Your bank wants to see you continue to use the card, that’s because most of us are debt revolvers – carrying a balance from month to month. This is where the lender makes their money. Why not lower your credit limit as you pay your card off? This will stop you from spending the money you’ve paid off the card.

Just remember, each time you apply for a credit limit increase, it gets recorded on your credit file.

Tip: #6: Use cash whenever possible

Cash is king! Try to use cash where you can. Using cash makes it easier to stay out of debt. Of course, this may not be practical all the time, especially since buying a car with cash is likely to earn you a visit from suspicious police. Whether you’re using cash or a debit card (which is really just electronic cash), cash is a great way to only spend what you have.

Updated October 15th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Minimum Income
$1,250 p.a.
A charge card with premium travel benefits and up to 80,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you spend on your card within the first 3 months.
2.99% for 6 months (reverts to 19.95% APR)
$149 p.a.
Enjoy a low rate on purchases and earn 20,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points if you apply, are approved and spend $750 in the first 3 months of Card membership.
19.95% APR
$195 p.a.
Receive 300 bonus Airpoints Dollars when you apply by 14 October 2019 and are approved. Spend a minimum of $1,500 in the first 3 months and earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $59 you spend on your card.
0% for 6 months (reverts to 19.95% APR)
$0 p.a.

Be rewarded with 50 bonus Airpoints Dollars. Simply apply, be approved, and spend $750 on your new Card in the first 3 months of membership.

Compare up to 4 providers

Tip: #7: If you have a debt on your credit card, make sure it’s a low rate

Always check to understand what interest rate your credit card offers. Not all credit cards have the same rate and the variance is quite large. If you’ll be carrying around debt, it can be worth looking for a card with lower interest rates.

Low Interest Rate Credit Cards

Tip: #8: Ask about hidden charges

We’re all aware of credit card surcharges, the extra fees that comes with buying a flight online, for example, can make you cringe. In some cases it can be beneficial to use an escrow service, like paypal, to pay for goods or services that attract a credit card surcharge.

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