Unless you’re very disciplined in using a credit card, chances are, one day you’ll find yourself at least a little behind on credit card payments. Those who rely on their credit cards to fill the gap between what they make and the amount they need to spend each month will continue to grow the amount of debt they have from month to month.
The best practice, before figuring out what to do with the credit card balances you already have, is to first look at your current credit card habits and figure out whether or not they are healthy ones to have. In order to stop the cycle of debt and owing more than you make, is to first evaluate whether or not you live within your means. If you are or are planning on making changes to your current spending habits, follow the steps listed below to move your current balances that are accruing interest to credit cards with a zero interest balance transfer offers.
Why transfer balances?
For those not well-versed in credit card practices, this could seem like a waste of time. If you’re making payments on the balances you currently have, what is the use in transferring balances to separate cards? The answer is interest. The percentage of interest your current balance is carrying could be the difference in whether you’re able to pay down your debt in a year or in three years. If your balances aren’t in zero interest credit cards, you could be only putting a small percentage of your monthly payment toward the principal balance, meaning you’re actually only paying on interest. Meaning that pair of pants you bought for $30 a year ago, could be costing you upwards of $50 or more, depending on the level of interest.
Figure out your interest rate
Before shopping around at different credit card companies for a 0% interest introductory rate, check your current balance and also current interest rate. It’s best to know what you have been paying and see if your current credit card company has any offers you can take advantage of to transfer your balance. If you have been paying on your balances regularly, your credit card company is going to want to keep you around and will likely work with you if you want to get the balance to a zero-interest account.
Pay it off
Once you’re able to get the balance to a zero interest account, it’s time to start putting money toward the total balance. You’ll typically have a year to 18 months to pay on the balance at the zero interest introductory rate. Make sure to take this time to pay it off and try not to accrue more debt within this time period.