It is that time of year when most Australians make their credit card work harder than an ant pushing a boulder up a molasses-covered hill. However, it’s never too early to talk about how you could make 2022 the year that you reduce or, even better, eliminate that credit card debt.
We’re not talking about consolidation or refinancing, though that is an option you could discuss with one of our experts to see if that is right for you. We will discuss simple tips and tricks that you can do right now to make 2022 credit cards debt-free!
You are not alone
According to the data on Finder.com.au, as of September of 2021, there are 13,184,537 credit cards active in Australia. Those cards earn the lenders a national debt accruing interest of $18.5 billion (yes, with a “b”).
Out of those cards in the market, the average monthly balance is $2,633, and the average monthly balance accruing interest is $1,400. This information tells us that while folks are using their credit cards, they are not paying the balance off in full and giving those lenders that sweet, sweet, interest money.
Fix number 1
One of the first rules of financial literacy is to educate people on the correct use of a credit card. If used correctly, a credit card can increase your lending capacity but being misused could cost you a chance at a home loan. Paying off your credit card in full each month means that you get all the benefits of improving your credit without paying two or three times over for purchases in interest.
While credit card lenders’ nature is to place a “minimum payment” on the bill, this is only their suggestion to fill their interests, which is the interest they charge you on your purchases.
Flick the minimum and pay it off in full. If this isn’t an option, you might need to look at your budget to see where purchases can be cut back.
Just like insurance or a utility, many stick with the same credit card lender for years because it’s the one they started with. The days of large corporations showing longevity loyalty are gone, so it’s in your best interest to shop around for the credit card with the best rate, best features, and no hidden fees.
A little bit of homework can save you a bundle.
Credit is not Debit misspelled.
The temptation to withdraw some cash from a credit card can be vital, especially if you’re like me and the local bakery is doing a two for one on doughnuts. Most credit cards charge an additional fee to withdraw money and can start charging interest on it immediately, therefore, negating the great doughnut deal anyway. This is another sneaky tactic by the credit card lenders, not the bakery; their intent is pure happiness.
We are not trying to demonise credit cards, and correctly using a credit card can be a powerful tool. If you need help wrestling your credit cards back under control, the Credit Connection team of experts can help you start 2022 on the journey to less debt more life.