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Tally review: An app that helps you pay off credit card debt

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Logo courtesy of Tally

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Getting out of credit card debt can take a long time. Tally is one pathway to potentially speed the process.

Tally consolidates your credit cards into one low-interest line of credit so that you only have to make a single payment, with the goal of saving on interest and fees. The company has been around since 2015, and it’s earned plenty of praise from the customers who have used it to manage their credit card debt. Tally has a 4.3 out of 5 rating – excellent – based on more than 550 reviews on Trustpilot, along with a 4.5 out of 5 rating from 17,000 reviews on Apple’s App Store.

Tally has a few different features, but they all add up to the company’s core promise: to save people money and accelerate their journey out of debt. The company estimates that it can save the average member $4,185 over five years.

How does Tally work?

When you sign up for Tally, the company reviews your credit history to determine whether you’re eligible for a line of credit. If you’re approved, you’ll get a set line of credit that automatically pays off your credit cards. Then, rather than pay those cards back each month, you pay Tally back – ideally at a lower rate than your cards. For example, rather than paying 20.99 percent, 18.49 percent and 17.99 percent on three different credit cards, Tally will analyze your credit to determine if they can offer you a deal with a lower interest rate to save money. The APR that you’ll pay with Tally is 7.90 percent to 29.99 percent.

Membership with Tally comes in three different packages:

  • Core membership: This applies only to those who are not approved for a line of credit. In this situation, members can still access features that help them put together a plan to attack their credit card debt.
  • Basic membership: The Basic Membership is an introductory option that offers a line of credit, and you can also consolidate all of your different card payments into one single bill known as Tally Pays. The app will automatically make your on-time payments, and it will calculate how to save interest charges by tackling the card with the highest APR. There’s also a handy Late Fee Protection tool. If you haven’t made your payment a few days before it’s due, Tally makes sure to take care of it.
  • Tally+: Tally+ costs $300 per year, and it includes two key components that make it more compelling than the Basic option. You get a larger line of credit, which can make a difference if you’re trying to tackle a supersized sum of debt.  Tally+ members can also qualify for an APR discount. After making 12 consecutive minimum payments, the company says that the average APR is lowered by 4 percentage points.

Who is Tally a good fit for?

Tally is especially good for anyone who has sizable credit card debt but still has a relatively good credit score. In most cases, you’ll need a minimum 660 credit score to qualify for a larger credit line and bigger APR discounts. There are some exceptions, though, and the company can sometimes find opportunities to help those with credit scores as low as 580.

It’s also a great fit if you have trouble keeping up with the due dates of multiple credit cards. Even the free membership with no line of credit offers valuable features to help you develop a strategy for paying off your bills.

The best way to see if Tally might be a fit for your finances is to use the debt payoff calculator on the company’s site. By sharing a few pieces of information – your credit score range, your existing balances and APRs and your most recent payment – you can get a realistic sense of how much the company might be able to help you save. You don’t have to share any personal contact information to use the calculator. If you decide to sign up for the service, the company automatically performs a soft credit check, so you won’t need to worry about hurting your credit score.

Tally’s terms and fees

Tally doesn’t charge any fees such as origination fees, balance transfer fees, over-limit fees or late fees. You will pay interest on your line of credit, and the variable APR varies based on your credit and may move up or down with market conditions. If you choose the Tally+ membership, you’ll pay $300 annually, but the charge comes directly from your credit line instead of your checking account.

If you’re paying the $300 for a Tally+ membership, it automatically renews each year, or you can choose to downgrade to a Basic membership. Once you have paid off your Tally line of credit, you can close your account.

Pros and cons of the Tally app

Like any financial decision, you’ll need to carefully consider the pros and cons of joining Tally and accessing a line of credit. Be sure to weigh these upsides and downsides while doing the math to determine if Tally is right for you.

Pros

  • No origination fees, late fees or balance transfer fees
  • Potential to get out of debt up to two times faster and save thousands of dollars in interest
  • Automated payments to avoid any late fees from your credit card issuers
  • Consolidates all your bills into one monthly payment to eliminate confusion
  • Transparent approach to estimating potential savings

Cons

  • Not available everywhere – if you live in Maine, Montana, Nevada, Vermont, West Virginia or Wyoming, you won’t be able to secure a credit line
  • A minimum 660 credit score is required for bigger lines of credit, although the company also works with scores as low as 580
  • $300 annual fee for accessing a larger line of credit and bigger discounts with Tally+
  • Not designed to help you avoid more debt in the future; you’ll need another budgeting tool to help put in safeguards to avoid falling into the debt trap again

How Tally compares to personal loans and balance transfer credit cards

If you’re thinking about using Tally, you’re likely also considering applying for a personal loan or taking advantage of a balance transfer offer. Here’s a rundown of how Tally stacks up to these other two options.

Tally vs. a personal loan: The best personal loans have APRs that start below Tally’s 7.9 percent, so this might be a lower-cost option to pay off all your credit cards. However, there are a couple of reasons that Tally can beat out a personal loan. First, there are no origination fees for Tally’s line of credit. Some personal loans come with an origination fee between 3 and 6 percent of the loan amount. Second, Tally’s line of credit is specifically meant for credit card balances, nothing else. With personal loans, it can be tempting to use some of that cash for other expenses. Some of the best personal loans also have higher minimum credit score requirements than Tally.

Tally vs. a balance transfer offer: Figuring out whether Tally is a better option than transferring your balance to another credit card with a competitive 0 percent APR introductory offer relies on crunching some numbers for your personal situation. Let’s say you have $10,000 in credit card debt, and a balance transfer offer comes with a 3 percent fee. In this case, your fee is $300 – an identical figure to the annual fee for the Tally+ membership. If the credit card charges 0 percent APR for the first 12 months and you have a dedicated strategy to pay it off in that time frame, you’re better off with the credit card. Some balance transfer offers have even longer introductory periods (as long as 21 months) which gives you more time to pay off your debt with no additional interest charges.

The bottom line

In a world loaded with get-out-of-debt-fast offers, Tally shines as a transparent option with no hidden fees and a consumer-friendly approach that aims to help those who have struggled with credit cards.

Depending on how much credit card debt you’re carrying, Tally could be a low-cost solution to help you save money and erase those balances faster. Be sure to consider all your options, though. A personal loan or a balance transfer offer might wind up being wiser for your personal needs. Regardless, once you have rid yourself of your existing credit card debt, educate yourself on the best way to budget to avoid falling back into the routine of overspending.

Written by
David McMillin
Contributing writer
David McMillin is a contributing writer for Bankrate and covers topics like credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes and travel. David's goal is to help readers figure out how to save more and stress less.
Edited by
Vice president