Are you struggling with multiple credit card debts? Here are tips to help you get on the right track.
If you have more than one credit card, you know the struggle. Managing balances, clearing bills, and spending wisely can be difficult. It also gets increasingly difficult when you make a mistake that leads to a penalty.
And there are so many questions that may cloud your mind too. Should you just pay the minimum for each card every month? Or should you pay more than the minimum for a particular card? Besides prioritising card payments, you also have to find a way to juggle your other finances.
All of this can be overwhelming. Which is why, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks that will help you regain control of your plastic cards with ease.
1. Pay the Minimum on Your Cards
If you can’t pay a higher amount, you should consider at least paying the minimum amount for your cards; and there’s a good reason for this too. If you miss your payment or you pay less than the minimum, the bank considers this as a late payment; and with late payments come certain penalties. Some banks will charge you a late fee. And if you’ve missed a payment for the second time in a row, your interest rates are also subject to increasing. You’ll end up paying more and saving less.
One thing you should keep in mind is your bank reports your inconsistent repayment behaviour to the credit bureau. This reflects in your credit report and also could put a dent in your credit score. While a single late payment might not reduce your score significantly, an increasing amount of late payments will affect your score drastically.
If your credit score is below average, it will start affecting your applications for other financial products as well.
2. Clear the Past Dues
If you have a high balance on your other credit accounts, it’s crucial to catch up on them and pay those bills quickly. The longer you keep those dues, the higher the interest you’ll end up paying. You’ll also start racking up late payment fees. Soon, you’ll find it difficult to clear this debt.
This also affects your credit score and till you’ve cleared your past due balance, this behaviour stays on your credit report. To ensure your interest rates are lowered, you will have to start making regular payments for a minimum of six months.
One thing you can do is use any extra money you have to clear your outstanding dues. First, it’s ideal to pay off your minimum amount and then with the remaining money, you can tackle your outstanding dues.
3. Bring Your Balance below Credit Limit
The minute you max out your credit cards, you raise a red flag. This will make your current and future lenders wonder if you’re a responsible customer and if other financial product applications should be approved. Some credit cards charge an over-limit fee, which could hurt your finances.
You can begin lowering your balance and bring it well below your credit limit, once you have cleared your minimum amounts and past dues. The ideal credit card utilization ratio stands at 30% of your credit limit and this is something you should aim for with all your credit cards. Maintaining this will also help your credit report and your credit score as well.
4. Reduce High Balances on Your Card
To achieve this, you need to start spending responsibly and wisely. Start by mapping out a plan and how much you can spend on each card. If you have a high balance on one card, focus on bringing that down to zero. The higher your credit card balance, the higher your credit utilisation. Not only does this majorly affect your credit score but it also increases your debt.
It’s good to keep your balances as low as possible. This behaviour indicates that you’re a responsible customer and lenders will be more likely to offer you financial products in the future.
5. Pay off High Interest Rate Balances
Being in debt is extremely difficult and takes a toll on your mental health. If you want to get out of this situation quicker, look at your cards that have high interest rates and start paying them off first. This is because higher the interest rates, higher the outstanding dues you have to clear. The goal is to bring down your balance with consistent repayments. Slowly, the interest rates on this card will also be lowered and you can focus on other cards.
Another thing you can do is use a lump sum amount to pay off the balances. If you have some savings you can spare, use it wisely to clear these dues.
Once you’ve followed the above tips, you should also consider evaluating your finances and cards. First, set a goal and then make a conscious decision to spend less till you’ve cleared all your debt.
Then you can ask yourself how important is this card and is it adding value to your life? If the annual fees are higher on one card and you’re barely getting any rewards on another, maybe consider switching to better credit cards or sticking to a minimum of two credit cards.
If you really want to clear your debt quickly, you can also opt for balance transfer programmes. Some banks offer balance transfers on their cards with zero interest. You can search for credit cards with balance transfer programmes on many finance websites like BBazaar.my. Once you have shortlisted a couple of cards, you can compare them and choose one. Check if you’re eligible for this card and then you can apply for it online. It’s that easy!
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