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Finding it hard to keep up with payments on your credit cards?

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Credit card debt

Paying off credit card debt. What are my options?

Try to pay what you can afford towards your credit card. More interest is added as the balance gets bigger. Try to keep your balance low.

Your card provider asks you to pay a minimum amount every month. Try to pay more if you can.

Extra charges are added if you miss payments.

Credit card debt problems

Stop using your card if you are finding it hard to pay off credit card debt.

Let your provider know you are having problems. They may be able to agree a payment plan with you.

Making minimum payments could mean you end up paying the debt over a long time.

Minimum payments usually only cover the interest and charges on a debt. This means the balance does not go down much.

Persistent debt

‘Persistent debt’ is when you only make minimum payments for over 18 months.

Your credit card company will write to you and ask you to increase your monthly payment.

Some companies are changing their terms and conditions (T&Cs) to:

  • Increase the minimum payment
  • Help customers reduce their debt

Find out more about persistent debt and minimum payments.

Use your budget to find ways to pay off your credit card quicker at a rate you can afford.

Need help with credit card debt?

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Transferring the debt via a balance transfer

Some credit cards let you transfer the balance from another card.

Moving the debt to a card with low or 0% interest could help you pay off the debt faster.


  • Low or 0% interest credit cards are hard to get if you do not have a good credit rating
  • Look out for fees
  • Most credit card providers charge 2-3% of the amount you are transferring as a one-off fee
  • Fees may mean you save less than you expect
  • Avoid spending on both cards. Make sure you:
  • Cut up the old credit card
  • Close the account

Frequently asked questions

How do you pay off credit cards?

There are a few ways to pay off a credit card.

The first thing to do is stop using the credit card you want to pay off. This means the amount you owe stops growing, making it quicker to repay.

Options for paying off your credit card balance include:

1. Making a budget

Find out if you can make savings anywhere. This will:

  • Free up money to increase your credit card repayments
  • Lower the amount of interest added

2. Transfer the balance

Find a zero percent interest credit card and make regular payments to pay this off.

3. Take out a consolidation loan

Only do this if you can afford the repayments.

It can be hard to find an affordable loan if you have a bad credit history.

Get free advice if you are struggling with credit card payments and other regular bills.

Is it better to pay off a credit card in full?

It depends on what you can afford to do.

Paying off your credit card in full can save you money in interest and charges.

But this is not a good option if you would need to:

  • Take out more credit, or
  • Make big cutbacks on your monthly spending

It might be better for you to pay off your credit card over time if:

  • You have a bad credit score
  • This means new credit has higher interest rates for you
  • You have to stop paying priority bills to afford paying it off at once

Credit card debt advice

Get free online debt advice if you are struggling to cover the minimum payments on your credit card.