How to pay off $50,000 in credit card debt

Dealing with serious credit card debt? You have options. (iStock)

Having high amounts of credit card debt can be daunting. And paying it all off? That’s even more difficult.

Fortunately, there are a number of strategies that can help you tackle the problem, including some that may even save you on interest in the long run. First, you're going to want to take a hard look at your financial situation, make yourself a monthly budget, and calculate your total debt.

Once you've done all of these things, then you can start looking into financial tools and products to help ensure you make your credit card payments on time and start chipping away at that outstanding credit card balance. There are some easy ways to pay down debt — even if you owe $50,000 or more.

How can I pay off $50,000 in credit card debt?

Are you dealing with $50,000 in credit card debt or more? Here are financial decisions you can make to help with debt relief.

  1. Credit card consolidation loans
  2. Balance transfer credit card
  3. Debt snowball or avalanche method

1. Credit card consolidation loans

One option is to consolidate your debts with a personal loan. Using this strategy, you’d take on a personal loan in the total amount of your credit card debts, then use that cash to pay off your balances. Debt consolidation loans like these only make sense if you can qualify for a personal loan with a lower interest rate than what’s on your credit cards. In most cases, this will require a good credit score — ideally 700 or higher.

If your credit score is within that range, then explore credit card consolidation loans via Credible. It's free to use and there are no hidden fees. Plus, checking rates won't affect your credit score.

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“Debt consolidation can reduce the number of bills consumers have each month,” said Leslie Tayne, a debt relief attorney at Tayne Law Group. “When consolidating credit card debt, these types of loans often lower the amount of interest paid since credit card interest rates are often in the double digits.”

Rates and qualifying requirements vary on these loans vary. If you consider this option, use Credible to shop around for credit card consolidation loans and get the best deal. You should also use a personal loan calculator to make sure the loan has a monthly payment you can afford.

2. Balance transfer card

Balance transfer credit cards are another method you can explore.

"A balance transfer is when you consolidate the balances from high-interest cards onto a single, lower-interest credit card,” said Justin Zeidman, head of credit card products at Navy Federal Credit Union. “Because all of your balances are now charged interest at one low rate, it can be easier to pay off debt, manage monthly payments, and save money.”

Apply for a balance transfer card to reduce your monthly payments and work toward paying down credit card debt accrued on other credit cards. To see what balance transfer cards have to offer, check out Credible's online marketplace, where you can compare them side-by-side.

If you choose this option, you’ll want to find a card that offers a low or zero-interest rate promotional period. These usually last anywhere from six to 18 months. You’ll also need to pay off the card or transfer the balance to a new one by the time this period expires.

"Make sure to know how long any promotional rates last,” Zeidman said. “If it’s just short-term, the interest may end up jumping to a rate higher than what you currently pay before you pay off your debt. You’ll save the most by paying off the debt completely under the lowest interest rate.”

Those looking for balance transfer cards, which typically come with a 0% intro APR – or fairly low APR – for 6 to 18 months, can use Credible's free online tools to view their options and choose a card that best meets their needs.

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Some cards also come with balance transfer fees ranging from a few dollars to 3% of the total balance, so make sure you inquire about these when considering your options. An online marketplace like Credible​ can help you compare multiple zero-interest credit card options at once.

3. Debt snowball or avalanche method

There are two debt payoff strategies you can also explore — namely, the debt snowball or avalanche methods.

  1. Debt snowball method: With the debt snowball method, you make minimum payments on all your cards, while putting extra cash toward your smallest-balance card first. Paying this card off gives you a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to keep paying off the others.
  2. Debt avalanche method: The debt avalanche method focuses on paying down your highest-interest accounts first. This saves you money and frees up more cash for paying off the other debts.

“Essentially, the snowball approach focuses on human behavior,” said Brian Walsh, a certified financial planner and manager of financial planning at SoFi. “By paying off the lowest balance first, you will see progress quicker and that increases motivation. The avalanche approach focuses on math. By paying off the highest interest rate first, you will reduce the interest you pay.”

The right choice really depends on your personal preferences. If you need a little extra motivation, the snowball method can be smart. If you want to maximize your savings, the avalanche approach is your best bet.

Ultimately, there are a lot of ways to pay off credit card debt — even $50,000 or more of it. If you’re facing credit card hardship, use a tool like Credible to explore your options. A balance transfer card or a personal loan for credit card consolidation may be able to help.

Choose one of these financial tools and start working on your debt management by paying off your credit cards one day at a time. If you have trouble making financial decisions such as these, you can also use Credible to get in touch with an experienced loan officer who can walk you through the process.

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