3 tricks to pay down credit card debt

As credit card bills pile up in your mailbox, it’s tempting to put them aside. Delaying reality won’t help your credit score, though. Better to start work on a realistic payoff plan.

Remember these three tips as you work toward fewer worries.

Chart a timeline

As you begin to focus on paying down your debt, the first step is to understand where your current payments are taking you. Using a debt calculator, enter your current balance, interest rates and average monthly payments to find out how long it will take to pay off your credit card debt at your current pace, and how much money you can save if you pay at an accelerated rate.

Put high interest behind you

Another important piece of the equation to enter into your debt calculator is which card carries the highest interest rate. Because high interest rates mean more finance charges, these cards are adding to your total balance. Look at all of your monthly bills, and set an aggressive goal to pay off the highest interest cards soonest.

Recognize the reality of paying the minimum

While paying on time is a crucial factor in keeping negative marks off your credit report, paying more than the minimum is equally important to decreasing the amount of your debt. If you are only making the minimum required payment on your credit card bills, you are only giving your credit card debt a longer lifespan and thus higher cost.