How to Lower Your Credit Card Payments
Wondering how to lower credit card payments so you can better manage your debt? From transferring your highest interest rate balances to more affordable alternatives to negotiating with your credit card company to reduce your payments, there are several tactics you can try. Here are five strategies to consider if you're grappling with how to lower credit card payments.
1Temporarily increase your monthly payments
While this may seem counterintuitive, paying more now may enable you to reduce the total balance you're required to pay overall.
There are a variety of ways credit card issuers calculate your monthly payment, according to Experian, but most determine it based on credit card balance, interest rate and fees that may apply to your account. If your balance is quite low, your credit card issuer may require that you pay a flat fee. However, many companies have a monthly minimum, with no upper limit on how much of your full balance you can pay off at once. By paying more than you're required, you might be able to reduce your interest accrual and, therefore, the total amount you'll owe for borrowing those funds.
If you're worried about missing credit card payments because you can't afford to manage your monthly debt, debt consolidation may be a useful strategy to lower your monthly payment. In many cases, the one monthly minimum payment will be lower than the current multiple combined minimum payments. With the help of debt consolidation, you'd make one monthly payment instead of making several monthly payments on your different credit cards.
Moving some of your higher interest rate balances onto a credit card that temporarily charges low or no interest can mean that more of your payment amount goes to the principal (amount you borrowed), rather than monthly interest rate charges. Some balance transfers do require a small fee, so make sure you run the numbers to understand what you might save compared to what you'll have to spend to move the money.
Depending on the amount of equity you have in your home, a cash-out refinance may be a way to move your higher interest rate credit card balances into a new, lower interest home loan. When you close on the refinanced loan, the lender will give you money to pay credit card balances off in full. Instead of continuing to pay your credit cards each month, you'll pay the balances down when you make monthly payments on your newly refinanced mortgage loan.
Unlike debt consolidation, refinancing should not restrict how or when you're able to use your credit cards or take on new debt moving forward.
5Negotiate with your credit card issuer
Your credit card's interest rate determines how quickly the amount you owe grows between payments. Negotiating a lower rate with your credit card company could ultimately lower your monthly credit card payment.
You might be able to gather evidence such as marketing letters, online ads and email offers from competing credit cards and then call your credit card company to ask if they'll lower your rate to match or beat those. Or, if you're wondering how to lower credit card payments because you're experiencing financial challenges related to the global pandemic, consider letting your credit card company know. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says that many credit companies are offering relief in the form of lower credit card payments, reduced interest rates or the option to defer payments to those who lost income due to COVID-19.
Paying off credit card debt can take time, commitment and patience, but there are many options that might save you money and make your card payments more manageable, based on your unique financial situation. Talk to your credit card provider for more information on managing debt.
A few financial insights for your life
This information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. First Citizens Bank (or its affiliates) neither endorses nor guarantees this information, and encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.