Credit card debt is an especially difficult type of debt to pay off. People who get into credit card debt rarely understand how their interest is calculated and compounded daily, not to mention how quickly credit card debt can spiral out of control. Once cardholders find themselves in trouble with this most expensive type of personal debt, it is important that they take immediate steps to pay it off. Here are the five most important actions to take to get out of credit card debt:

  1. Stop Spending Money. While cardholders cannot abstain from some necessary purchases, it is important that they do everything possible to stop adding to their debt. This means curtailing all discretionary spending on their credit cards in order to keep their debt from growing.
  2. Perform A Balance Transfer. There are many cards on the market that offer 0% APR balance transfers for as long as 18 months. With a 0% balance transfer, consumers can move their high rate balances to a new card that offers 0% rate. This stops interest from piling up and allows card-holders to repay debt significantly faster than they can at a regular rate. It also helps those who can’t afford to start repaying debt prevent interest expenses from adding 15% or more to their current debt over a year.
  3. Start A Plan. Once a balance transfer has been secured, make a plan to eliminate debt before the 0% balance transfer period concludes. The plan should contain a realistic budget for household expenses along with an increased amount to be dedicated to paying down the debt.
  4. Find Additional Sources of Income. After expenses have been cut to the maximum extent possible, the only other way to pay down debt more quickly is to find other means of income. These sources can be sustainable such as working additional hours or finding higher paying employment opportunities or they can be one time injections of revenue. For example, unneeded or unused items can be sold and the money received can be used to pay off debt.
  5. Stay Focused. It can be easy to make a plan to control spending or to perform a balance transfer, but success will always be about following through. In this instance, it helps to involve the entire household of the plan and to constantly review it. Make sure everyone is sticking to the plan, and improve on it as time goes by. Cardholders can also seek support online as there is a community of bloggers and forum participants that are going through the same struggle.

By recognizing the problems of credit card debt, and taking steps to eliminate it, cardholders can become the masters of their own finances rather than simply being the victims of bad habits.

For many consumers, the best way to get started on this path is by utilizing a credit card that offers a 0% rate on balance transfers. To learn more, see our ranking of the top 10 best balance transfer credit cards of 2012.

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