Saving money on your credit card bills means you need to devise ways to minimize the interest being charged. Here are some tips.
What Credit Card Companies Want You to Do
When a credit card company offers you a card, it is banking on your lack of self-discipline and your penchant for instant gratification, that is, buying things now that you believe you can pay for later. Getting you to defer payment, by making only minimum partial payments, allows them to charge interest on the unpaid balance. Credit card companies do not make money unless people pay interest on their balances. If you cannot pay off your entire balance each month, you can still save money on your credit card bills by following a few simple procedures.
How to Minimize the Interest Payments
A $3000 debt on a credit card, with a minimum payment of $75.00 dollars will take virtually years to pay off. This is because the bulk of the minimum payment goes to interest. Only a few dollars will actually go toward reducing the $3000. To reduce the payoff time and the amount of total interest you pay on this debt, the following two options are available:
- Obviously, making larger monthly payments will get this debt down much faster. Even a payment of $100 versus the minimum $75 will add $25 to the principal being paid off each month.
- Look carefully at offers for new credit cards that come in your mailbox. Some of these offer 0% interest on balance transfers for as long as a year. At $75 a month, you would have close to 1/3 of the debt paid by the end of that year. Then, you can transfer the remaining balance to another card offer for 0% interest, and so on. You will want to cut up the cards from which you transferred balances, because the more credit cards you keep in your wallet, the greater is the temptation to use them. Do not close out the accounts, however, as that process can hurt your credit score. Keep the accounts open with a balance of zero, and your credit score will be positively affected.
- When you receive a billing statement from your credit card company, pay it within a day or two. The faster you pay it, the less interest will be charged on the unpaid balance for the next cycle. Most people do not realize this and simply pay the bill when it is due. If you pay by internet through your bank, and you have the funds available, pay the bill early rather than wait for the statement to come in. You will reduce the interest charges in the long run.
- Vow to apply any “windfall” of money and/or your tax refund to paying down the credit card debt. Large one-time payments really rid you of a great deal of interest.
Following one or more of these simple procedures can save thousands of dollars of interest payments over a lifetime.