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While everyone loves to get something for things we do anyway--like receiving credit card rewards for shopping--its very important to understand that reward credit cards are not for everyone. The ideal holder of a reward credit card pays every credit card statement in full every month and never carry a balance. The reality, however, is quite different. An average American credit card holder carries from $8,000 to $10,000 credit card debt, which means it doesn't matter what cashback you are getting from your credit card. The credit card company will still get you on the interest; many times over.
If you are carrying a credit card debt (I am not being sanctimonious, we've all been there), getting a reward credit card is the last of your problems. What you need instead is a credit card with a long-term zero introductory APR so you could pay off your credit card debt once and for all. Ironically, a credit card is the best way to fend off credit card debt, not unlike fighting fire with fire.
Here are five simple, but effective steps that will help you get rid of credit card debt fast and easily.
Apply for a long-term 0% APR credit card and transfer your existing high credit card balances over there.
Set up a schedule to pay off your credit card debt in accordance with your budget, and follow this schedule religiously!
Put your new credit card in a sock and forget about it! This is very important. You should not use your new 0% APR credit card for purchases, or you will inadvertently begin this vicious cycle all over again.
After you pay off all your balances, pat yourself on a back: you've done well. :-)
Most importantly: never make new credit card debt ever again!
What if you can't get a credit line big enough to cover all your balances? Get two or three cards. As long as you have a good credit score, it shouldn't be a problem.
Here are three recommendations for credit card with the longest 0% APR terms.
Chase Slate Credit Card
This is simply the best 0% APR credit card. First, it offers a 15-month introductory period, and second, and most importantly, you won't pay any balance transfer fees if you transfer your balances within first 60 days. On average, it means that you will save $240 on $8,000 balance transfer!
Once again, do not make any purchases on this card. Chase offers you zero percent APR on balance transfer and purchases. Forget about purchases! Don't fall into this trap!
Citi Simplicity Credit Card
Citi does have a 3% balance transfer fee, but this card also has a longer 18-months 0% introductory period and no late fees for late payments! That's a very rare benefit for a credit card, and let's face it: who hasn't been late with their payments? We are all humans, after all.
Discover It Credit Card
Discover It is a great cashback credit card, and this is why I feel conflicted recommending it: the temptation to use it for shopping might be too big. If you can fight this temptation, then it's a solid 0% intro APR card for 14 months that has one more unique benefit. It gives you free access to your genuine FICO Transunion credit score! You will be able to watch gleefully how your credit score is improving before your very eyes. The balance transfer fee is 3%, too.
No one is arguing that getting rid of your credit card debt and paying your full balances monthly after month take sacrifice and require a big change of your credit habits. But think about a bigger picture. When you're done, you will be able to profit from credit cards handsomely, whether with cash back or free travel. It's totally worth it!
This is a post by Andy Shuman, a credit and travel expert who blogs at www.Lazytravelers.net. He writes and blogs during and between trips that he enjoys free of charge mostly due to creative use of credit card offers. He believes that credit cards are much more than just a convenient way to pay for a purchase, and that the benefits of responsible credit habits can go far beyond getting the best rates for loans and mortgages.
Andy is the author of bestselling books from Lazy Traveler Handbook Series available on Amazon. When he's not traveling, he lives with his beautiful wife and daughter in Brooklyn, NY.
Questions? Suggestions? Keep them coming!
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