How to pay off multiple credit cards
Simplify your credit card debt
Do you really need more than one credit card? Here's how to get
rid of your debt and feel the stress melt away.
your credit card repayments
Pay off as much as you can every month to reduce interest. Make
sure you pay at least the minimum monthly repayment to
avoid late payment or default fees.
Your monthly statement gives you information about how long it
will take to pay off the entire balance by making minimum
Pay the highest interest
rate or smallest debt first
When choosing which credit card to get rid of first, you
- Pay off the credit card with the highest interest
rate first - In addition to making minimum payments
on all cards, pay more on the card with the highest interest
rate, so you pay off the total amount on that card first. Then
work your way through your other cards.
- Pay off the card with the smallest debt first
- Keep making minimum payments on all cards, and pay more on
the card with the smallest debt, so you pay off the total
amount on that card first. Then work on paying off the next
smallest debt, and so on.
Whatever option you choose, stop using all but one of your
credit cards, and try to only use it for emergencies.
Use our credit card calculator to work out the fastest way to
pay off your credit cards.
Credit card calculator
Credit card case study: Emma's smart choice
owes a total of $10,000 on her three credit cards. The interest
rates on the cards average 20%. The minimum monthly repayments for
the three cards total $200.
If Emma only makes the minimum repayments, it would take her 66
years to pay off her debt and she would pay over $44,000 in
Instead, she decides to pay $300 a month towards her debt. This
will pay off her debt in about 4 years, and save her almost $40,000
card balance transfer
Another option is to move your debts across to a
balance transfer credit card with a lower interest
rate for a set period.
To get the full benefit of a balance transfer credit card, make
sure you pay off the full balance transfer amount before the
balance transfer period ends.
To avoid any nasty surprises, make sure you check what interest
rate will apply:
- After the balance transfer period ends -
because you will pay this higher interest rate on any balance you
transfer across but do not pay off in time
- On new purchases - as any purchases you make
using your new card will usually attract a higher interest rate
than the special balance transfer rate.
Close each credit card account
as you pay it off
As you clear the debt on each card, close the
account by contacting your provider. If you don't
close the account properly, you may still have to pay fees, even if
you no longer use the card.
Lower your credit card
You may decide to keep one credit card for emergencies and
online payments. If so, lower the credit limit on it to an amount
that you can repay within 3 months, say $2,000.
Get debt help if you need it
If you are having problems juggling your debts, it is important
to act quickly to get help. If you just ignore it, you may have
difficulty obtaining credit in the future if your credit report
If you need help with your debts:
- Contact your credit provider straight away -
You may be able to organise an agreed repayment plan until you pay
off your debt or until a temporary financial problem is
- Get help from a financial counsellor - Financial counsellors offer a
free service and can
help you sort out your debts.
Having multiple credit cards means more debt and
more stress. Try to reduce the number of credit cards you have, and
make sure your credit limit is one you can afford.
Last updated: 17 Jan 2017