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Tips to boost your credit card payments

By Lucy Lazarony · Bankrate.com
Monday, November 8, 2010
Posted: 11 am ET

As a credit card customer, you've played your cards right.

You moved a hefty credit card balance to a new card with a rock-bottom rate on balance transfers. And you'll be paying next to nothing in interest on that balance for many months to come.

And now it's time to get serious about your credit card payments. The goal? Knocking out as much of your credit card balance as you possibly can during the low-rate introductory period.

And you won't get there by cruising by with minimum payments. It's time to pump up your payments.

Looking for ways to give an extended boost to your card payments? These tips can help.

Find out what it will take to pay off your credit card debt. Step one is finding out what it will take to pay off your balance. This calculator will help you crunch the numbers and offer up a suggested monthly payment for paying your debt in full.

Is the suggested monthly payment within your financial reach? If not, take a close look at your budget and see if you can free up some additional cash to apply to your credit card payment.

Rethink your budget. Adjusting your budget in a few places may be easier than you think. This budgeting toolkit and these savings tips will help you get started.

A few nips and tucks here and there may be all you need to free up more money for your credit card payment.

Track your spending. One quick way to revamp your budget is to simply track your spending. Carry a small notebook with you and keep track of every single penny you spend for a month.

Once you're aware of every last bit of your spending, it's easy to make some adjustments and apply that extra cash to your credit card payment.

Even applying an extra $50 per month to a credit card payment will help to chip away at that balance.

Hold steady with your payments. Once you've given your credit card payment a big boost, it's important to stick with it. Keep that amped-up payment coming month after month.

Stay motivated with your much more than the minimum payments and watch your credit card balance decline.

Avoid making new purchases with the card. Once you transfer a balance to a card, you'll want to hold off on making any new purchases.

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 requires issuers to apply the portion of the payment over the minimum to the balance with the highest interest rate. So, charging purchases to the same card will prevent you from making any real headway on the transferred credit card debt until those new purchases are paid in full.

Remember, your goal is knocking down -- not building up -- your balance. And if you make a bunch of new purchases, there's a good chance you'll fall behind on your debt reduction goal.

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