When most people start working to free themselves from debt, the first actions are often to work hard and save money in an effort to pay off their credit card balances at a slow but steady rate. The debt they owe might end up being so daunting as to inspire them to renounce purchasing anything with credit cards ever again.
Contrary to popular thought, credit cards don’t have to be all that bad — it just depends on which credit cards you use, how you use them, and the purposes for which you use them. Some cards can actually serve to pull you out of debt faster and help you manage your money.
Check out our top three choices of credit cards that will work for you, rather than against you:
If you’re saddled with credit card debt, it’s imperative you transfer the balance of your current credit cards to new ones with low to zero-percent interest rates. If you don’t, it’s likely the amount you’re paying off each month is mostly, if not all, just old interest you’ve accrued.
One fantastic card to look into is the Chase Slate, which has been declared the “Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers” two years in a row by Money Magazine.
Chase Slate offers new users a $0 introductory balance transfer fees for transfers made during the first 60 days of opening an account. After that initial period, there’s a small fee for balance transfers of three percent of the amount transferred. Additionally, for the first 15 months of holding a Chase Slate credit card, the introductory annual percentage rate stays at zero percent. This means that you’ll have much more time to focus on paying off your debt without worrying about interest fees.
Similar to Chase Slate, Discover it offers customers zero percent annual percentage rates on balance transfers for the first 18 months after they sign up. After those 18 months expire, though, a three-percent fee is applied to each balance transferred, and a purchase annual percentage rate is applied.
As added benefits, Discover it gives 5 percent cash back on various purchases quarterly and won’t raise your annual percentage rate for making a late payment. And then, to put a little icing on the cake, the first time you make a late payment, they let it slide and don’t charge a late fee.
BankAmericard Visa Card
Another good choice for benefits and balance transfers is BankAmericard’s Visa Card. Very similar to the aforementioned two cards, BankAmericard’s Visa Card won’t charge any annual percentage rate for the first 12 billing cycles after you join up as a customer; and if you make any balance transfers within the initial 60 days of holding the credit card, you won’t be charged an annual percentage rate — just a three-percent fee.
In terms of benefits, cardholders earn at least 1-percent cash back on all purchases, with 2 percent earned at grocery stores and 3 percent on gas.
When working to get a better handle on your debt and finances, it’s prudent to utilize all the resources available to you, including credit cards. By strategically transferring balances of old credit cards, to which you likely have been paying a large sum of interest, to new credit cards that have benefits and low interest rates, you can save a large amount of money and free yourself from debt much faster than you otherwise would.
For other tips on dealing with debt and organizing your finances, sign up for a Fundamental Finance Academy workshop on personal finance.