Free up more cash to spend every month with our credit card payoff calculator. By paying more each month to clear your credit card balance, you can improve your financial situation and become debt-free faster.
Our calculator determines how much faster you’ll clear an individual credit card balance by making higher monthly repayments and how much you’ll save on interest by doing so. Below, find out the meanings of key terms used in the credit card payoff calculator.
Your current credit card balance is the amount you owe your lender right now.
This is also known as your outstanding balance, which includes the following:
You can find your current credit card balances by logging in to your card provider’s website or app.
In this field, enter how much extra you could set aside each month to clear your credit card balance.
The annual percentage rate (APR) is the interest rate your credit card company charges you when you make a purchase or draw down a cash advance on your card.
The level of APR affects your monthly payments. Your provider works out how much interest to charge you during a billing cycle by applying the agreed rate of interest to your average daily balance.
As part of your agreement with your issuer, you’ll be required to make a minimum payment each month. This is usually expressed as a percentage. Enter the minimum payment percentage into the field in the calculator.
In addition to your minimum payment percentage, your credit card issuer may require you to make a minimum monthly payment in dollars. For example, you may be required to make a minimum repayment of 3% on your current balance, subject to a minimum of $50. If that’s the case, enter that dollar amount into the field.
Some credit card companies offer the option to skip December payments to help customers manage their cash better around the holidays. Although this can be helpful, interest continues to accrue on your balance during this time, potentially lengthening your debt repayment period.
There are three main approaches to paying off your credit card debt faster:
Balance transfer cards allow consumers to move their existing debt from one card provider to another.
When you transfer your balance, you pay a very low rate or zero interest on the amount transferred for a limited time — a few months up to two years, depending on the lender. If you’re currently paying 20% to 30% APR on your card, you could save a lot of money during this time.
You usually pay a fee of 2% to 3% on your entire balance when you transfer to your new provider.
While you will save money with the deals offered on many balance-transfer cards, your new provider will start charging you interest at some point. To keep your costs down after the promotional period has ended, choose an issuer with an interest rate that is lower than that of the issuer you’re leaving.
When the promotional period ends, you can take advantage of another balance-transfer deal from another issuer. However, doing this repeatedly can hurt your credit score.
The debt avalanche and snowball methods can be suitable if you have multiple credit cards with different interest rates and balances.
The debt avalanche approach focuses on clearing credit accounts that have the highest interest rates first. With this type of repayment plan, you reduce the amount you pay in interest each month. When the account with the highest interest rate has been cleared in full, you then focus on the account with the next-highest interest rate.
The debt snowball method focuses on clearing the credit account with the smallest balance first. Once you’ve achieved that, you move on to the account with the next-smallest debt.
Both the debt avalanche and debt snowball methods help consumers pay down their debt faster, particularly if they can pay more than the monthly minimum.
The debt avalanche approach will save you more money over time, but you won’t get the pleasure of completely paying off current credit card accounts as quickly as you will with the debt snowball approach.
Use our debt payoff calculator to see how much you’d save with either the debt avalanche or snowball method. You can use the calculator to prioritize paying off all of your credit lines, including credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and home equity loans.
Not paying off your credit card debt can significantly hurt your financial standing. If you fail to make your credit card payments by the due date, you’ll be subject to late-payment fees, in addition to high interest on the balance. Plus, your credit limit may be reduced, and your lender may increase your interest rate. If you repeatedly miss your payments, this will be reflected in your credit history, too.
Managing your credit card debt well can improve your credit score over time, as it shows lenders that you can handle money well. One way to do this is to maintain a healthy credit utilization ratio, which compares your credit card balance against your credit card limit.
Each credit bureau is different, but as a rule, try to ensure that your card’s balance is no greater than 30% of your limit. If it’s constantly higher than that, a bureau might think you rely on credit to meet your financial obligations and, in turn, lower your credit score.
Another option you could choose to pay off your credit cards is a debt consolidation loan. You can also use a debt consolidation loan to pay off other credit facilities, like personal, auto and student loans.
Most debt consolidation loans charge a much lower interest rate than credit cards and personal loans do. This means your monthly repayments will be much lower, and instead of making multiple payments each month, you make only one.
If you secure a debt consolidation loan against the equity in your property, you may benefit from even lower interest rates. Bear in mind, though, that if you don’t keep up repayments on your debt consolidation loan, your property may be repossessed.