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Consolidating Credit Card debt

Written by

Shaun McGowan

According to the latest figures from Illion there are over 14.8 million by the credit cards in circulation throughout Australia. National credit card debt (the amount owed and accruing interest) is over $20 billion, a figure which doesn’t even include corporate credit cards.

Earlier this year, News.com.au reported that Australians are seeing the pitfalls of high-interest credit cards, which has led many to move away into lower interest options such as debit cards and debt consolidation.

You’ll be familiar with the simplicity of a debit card, but if you’ve got one (or more) credit cards which are starting to become financial headaches, debt consolidation is a way to take larger, more complex debts, and bundle them into a single repayment.

A brief intro to Credit Card debt consolidation

The whole idea behind debt consolidation is that it should simplify your existing debts - so here’s our super simple explanation on how it works.

  • Credit cards have two interest rates: a purchase rate, and a cash advance rate.
  • Both of these rates vary wildly between card providers and individual cards*
  • Debt consolidation moves all existing debts to one loan with one, lower rate.
  • This makes it easier, cheaper, or faster to repay your debts.

*According to RateCity, the average credit card rate is 17.30%, while similar site, Finder reports the average is 19.95%.

While neither is wrong, this simply shows how much rates can vary depending on the sample size of the group interviewed. And either way, both figures are substantially higher than even the most modest debt consolidation loan.

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The advantages of debt consolidation

In a study conducted by Bankrate, debt consolidation was the number one reason for a personal loan application, with 38% of applicants citing this on their application.

This doesn’t really come as a surprise; the advantages of debt consolidation are broad and, unlike other types of finance, there’s no major downside provided you spend a time to make sure you get the best deal on offer.

Clearly, the main reason is that you’ll save money when repaying your existing debts but, you may also be able to pay off your debts sooner, reduce the stress that comes with multiple payments, or simply budget for another area of your life that you want to pursue.

The one, unifying reason that debt consolidation is so popular is that it helps free you from a cycle of bad debts. Not all loans or finance products are bad, but credit cards have very few benefits that aren’t offered by other, superior forms of finance.

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3 ways to make sure you get a good deal

Keep these in mind when consolidating credit card debt:

  • Calculate your total current repayments and make sure your debt consolidation loan has lower regular repayments and a lower total repayment amount.
  • Avoid fees and extra charges where possible, as these can cancel out any benefits you might receive from consolidating debt
  • Before you cancel your cards, make sure you understand any cancellation fees for your existing accounts and subtract these from the amount you’ll save.
Credit card consolidation loans

The last thing to check is your repayment schedule - if possible, try to find a lender who will let you set the day you make your repayments, and organise this to work best with your current income schedule.

If you have debt problems, bad credit, or need help from a finance professional, you can call the National Debt Hotline on 1800 007 007, and they will connect you with a financial advisor in your state.

Ready to consolidate your debt today?

If you’re ready to consolidate your credit card debt (or if you’re just curious to see how much you could save in only 60 seconds) then you can simply use our Money Matchmaker™ engine.

We’ll compare the best debt consolidation loans we can find from our available pool of lenders, personalised for you and based on a few simple questions.

See exactly how much you’ll repay, and how much you can save by cutting up your cards today. Best of all, it’s free, and there’s no obligation to apply.

If you’re ready to compare debt consolidation offers, get started with Money Matchmaker™ today.

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About the Author

Shaun McGowan from money.com.au

Shaun

McGowan

Shaun McGowan

Shaun is the founder of Money.com.au and is determined to help people pay as little as possible for financial products. Through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded CarLoans.com.au and Lend.

*Information about comparison rates Comparison rates are designed to allow borrowers to understand the true cost of a loan by taking into account fees and charges, the loan amount and the term of the loan. The comparison rate is based on an unsecured fixed rate personal loan of $10,000 over 3 years. WARNING: Comparison rates are true only for the examples provided and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.