Written byShaun McGowan
Feeling the sting of your credit card debt?
The most recent figures released by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) shows Australian national credit card debt has reduced from over $20 billion down to $17.68 billion - a positive sign which shows the lowest national credit card debt since 2003.
These figures are the result of many Australians now starting to move away from their credit card, paying off their outstanding balances to become financially independent and debt-free.
Here are our 5 tips to help you on this journey.
If you’re balancing multiple credit card debts, it might seem like the logical choice to pay off the lower balance first to ‘clear’ it.
You might even do this subconsciously without realising it, because it feels good to clear off the debt entirely. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best decision, due to how credit cards accrue interest.
Credit cards each have their own interest rate, which means if you’re paying off a lower balance on a card charging lower interest, you could undo all your hard work by letting a high-interest card accumulate further charges.
Credit card companies are a business, and businesses - even credit companies! - are dependent on their customers. So, why not use this to your advantage?
Few people know that you can simply call your credit company and request a better credit arrangement. At worst, you’ll know to look elsewhere for a better deal, but at best, you might get a lower interest rate to help repay your debt faster!
This is especially important if you’ve previously had a low credit score and have taken steps to repair it - interest rates are determined by risk, and an improved credit score is likely to mean a better, lower rate!
While you’re talking with your credit card company, make sure to consider our third tip to further help repay your debts.
Payment dates can be brutal if you aren’t financially sound, and a credit card due date that doesn’t align with your income can make budgeting and balancing your finances a nightmare.
On the flip side, choosing a payment date that works best for you and your current employment payments not only ensures you aren’t charged for late or missed payments, but may help further with budgeting to reduce your outstanding balance entirely.
Our tip here is to think about when you get paid and the times of the month you have the most cash available in your account. Once you’ve figured that out, a common tactic is to choose a payment date on the day following your regular payday.
If you really want to pay off your credit cards as fast as possible, you’ll want to discover ways you can streamline your payments and life-hack your way to becoming debt-free.
One of the simplest ways to do this is by using the Hidden $100 Method:
This small life hack might seem simple, but it’s essentially a way to automate your brain into paying a little extra in a way that you don’t notice.
The ultimate benefit?
You’ll pay fewer interest charges, and you’ll clear your debt faster, while feeling good about yourself for doing it consistently - and thank yourself when you’re debt-free.
Debt consolidation loans can have lower interest than credit cards, usually depending on your credit score.
If your credit score is good or better, you should literally be able to halve the interest cost with a debt consolidation loan.
The benefit of a debt consolidation loan is also being able to simplify your debt by having only one repayment to make, as opposed to multiple debts with multiple repayment dates.
Money.com.au want to make managing money easy and fun! By giving Australians simple tools so they can make the best decisions they can about their money.
We understand that the world of finance is complex, and offer free, extensive guides on Personal Loans, Car Loans and Business Loans, along with tools like our Budget Planning Spreadsheet to help you better manage and understand personal finance.
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.