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How long does it take to pay off a credit card?
If you’ve got a loan or mortgage, it’s normal to know when it’ll be cleared and you’ll be debt-free.
But credit cards work a little bit differently to other forms of credit because you don’t get a specific date on when it’ll be repaid.
In this blog, Ocean explains why credit cards differ to other forms of credit in this way, and how you can create a structured repayment plan to have your credit card debt repaid by a certain date.
A bit of leeway
When you take out credit, like a loan or mortgage for example, you get given a specific date by when it’ll be repaid (provided you keep up your monthly repayments).
Unlike a loan, you will not have a set monthly repayment for a credit card. Yes, you will probably have a minimum amount to repay each month, but you can choose to repay anything above this sum too.
It’s a good idea to set up a Direct Debit to cover your minimum monthly repayment so you don’t have to worry about missing it, which can affect your credit history. And we always recommend you pay as much towards your balance as you can each month, as this can save you money on interest.
This approach works for many people because it gives you a bit of flexibility. Say you have a good month financially and get a bonus, for example, you can repay more than you would normally. Alternatively if you have a tight month, you can just repay the minimum.
Although repaying in this way gives you the luxury of flexibility, if you’re repaying different amounts each month, it makes it difficult to project when your credit card will be paid off.
Date for the diary
For some people, it’s important to have an end goal – a specific date when your credit card will be repaid.
If this is you, then it’s not impossible to achieve.
All you need to do is work backwards from the date you want it repaid. Then divide the debt you have (plus interest and assuming you don’t borrow more) by the amount of months until then, to work out how much you’d need to pay towards it each month.
I can afford £XX a month
Alternatively, you can approach it from the other side.
Work out how much you can afford to pay each month – make sure this is feasible and don’t overcommit – and then use that figure to work out when your debt will be repaid.
Sounds complicated? Well we’ve made life a little easier for you! Use our credit card calculators to work out how long it will take to clear your current balance, and how fast you could clear it in if you upped your repayments.
My offer is ending
The other date you might be working towards is the end of your introductory offer – if you had one. For example, you may be in a 0% APR deal until a certain date, by which you’ll want the debt cleared if you want to avoid paying interest.
You’d just need to follow the steps as outlined above to work out how much you need to repay each month.
Whichever way you choose to do it, once you know what you need to pay to clear your credit card balance by a set date, all you need to do is set up a way of paying it each month.
Just remember that getting debt-free by the date you want relies on you not putting more debt on to your credit card in the meantime!