The Fastest Way To Pay Off $10,000 In Credit Card Debt

What's the best way to pay down a credit card balance as quickly as possible, while paying the least in interest, and without hurting your credit? What follows is a powerful method recommended by the most astute personal finance experts* to achieve exactly those objectives. It's extremely effective, completely legal, and leverages programs created by credit card issuers to your advantage. Follow these steps and start to become credit card debt-free.

Step 1: Use A Powerful Tool To Immediately Stop Paying Interest On Your Balance

Think of someone carrying a credit card balance like a patient who enters an emergency room bleeding badly. The first thing a doctor will do is stop the bleeding. It's no different when attacking a credit card balance; the first thing you do is stop the interest charges.

There's a simple way to do this, and it's brilliance is that it actually uses the banks' marketing offers to your advantage: find a card offering a long "0% intro APR balance transfer" promotional offer, and transfer your balance to it. These are cards which offer new customers a long period of time (often as much as 18 months) during which the card charges no interest on all balances transferred to it. We constantly track all the cards in the marketplace in order to find the ones currently offering the longest 0% intro periods.

If you need more motivation, just think of this: on a $10,000 balance, $150 of a $200 monthly payment would get vacuumed up by interest charges.** That leaves only $50 of your $200 that actually reduces your balance, the rest vanishing into bank pockets. That's just brutal. Use our reviews to find a card which offers the longest possible no-interest period while charging low, or even no fees. Moving your balances to the card you choose will stop the bleeding, allowing you to move on to step two.

Step 2: Power Through Your Balance During The 0% Period.

Once you've transferred your balances and put a stop to the interest charges, it's time to capitalize on the interest-free period to really break free of the debt. The best part of this is how simple it is: just keep making the payments you used to make when you had to pay big interest payments, except now 100% of your payment will go to reduce your balance.

Going back to the $10,000 example above. (just be aware that we're using the $10,000 number as an example to demonstrate how the process works. You may be approved to transfer an amount greater or less than $10,000). If you transferred that balance onto a card which offers 15 months of 0% intro APR with no transfer fee, and maintained the same $200 monthly payment, you can see how much faster you'll be reducing your balance in the chart below.

As you can see, without using the 0% card, the same $200 monthly payments barely make any headway. It's like swimming upstream, or walking while taking a step back for every two steps forward. That's no way to swim or walk, and attempting to pay off your cards while paying high card interest rates is no way to manage your finances. Move your balances onto one of the cards below, stop getting crushed by interest, and start making real progress toward getting rid of your card debt.

Top 0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Cards:

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Intro Offer on BT and Purchases

0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers*. No annual fees.

This credit card comes with an intro APR of 0%* for 21 months on Purchases* and 0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers*. With this extra-long 0% Intro APR you can pay off your balance all the way into 2019. You’ll also gain access to Citi Private Pass for exclusive presale tickets and a Personal Concierge Service available to assist you 24/7. You’ll also earn City Easy Deal points with each card purchase redeemable for discounts on online merchandise, travel tickets, gift cards, and more. This card is perfect for people looking to get out of debt or making a large purchase who want over a year to pay it off.

The Verdict: Getting a loan this cheaply for this long is pretty amazing. If you’re interested in transferring a balance to a 0% card, this is the one that offers a great 0% term. Period.

Most Appropriate For: Because the Diamond Preferred® card has the an impressive 0% balance transfer term, it’s our highest rated card for anyone carrying a large balance. The extra interest-free time will allow folks to make significantly more headway paying down their debt, even factoring in the transfer fee.

Least Appropriate For: Someone looking to earn rewards on new purchases. Unlike a few of the cards mentioned here, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® has no rewards program built in.

Credit Required: Good to Excellent

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer

This card has a sign-up bonus loaded with potential: you can turn $200 into $400 with Cashback Match. If you’re a new card member, you can automatically double your rewards within the first year of having the card.

You also earn 5% cash back from rotating categories like gas stations, department stores, or restaurants for up to $1,500 every quarter. You’ll also get 1% cash back on everything else.

With 5% cash back from everyday spending categories and 1% cash back on everything else you can easily earn $200 cash back and turn it into $400 with Discover’s Cashback Match.

There is also no annual fee, and you will get 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months and 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months.

While the Discover It - 18 month balance transfer offer has some rewarding cash back benefits, it lacks the 0% intro APR length of other cards on this list and it has a balance transfer fee of 3%. You also need to remember to opt into the categories every quarter or you will not receive the 5% cash back rewards.

Most Appropriate For: People who enjoy both cash rewards and lengthy balance transfer offers.

Least Appropriate For: People looking for a simple balance transfer card. This card will reward you the more you use it, however if you're looking to just transfer your current balances there are other cards out there with similar offers.

Verdict: If you looking for a balance transfer credit card that teams up with a cash back rewards system, this card is right up your alley. It has a unique sign-up bonus system that doubles your cash back at the end of your first year. So if you’re in the market for a rewards card and would like to transfer your current balance, this card is perfect for you.

Recommended Credit: Good to Excellent

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 9 months, unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day, One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. No annual fee.

Turbo charge your plans to ditch debt with this easy-to-use card that will pay you unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day. Use the cash-back rewards to pay down your debt even faster! You earn cash in two ways when you use this card. First, earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Second, you'll take home an unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day. No headaches remembering rotating bonus categories, you will earn cash on everything you buy. Pile those unlimited cash rewards back onto your balance and say goodbye to your debt even faster! This card offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases for 9 months. Music lovers get an extra bonus: Use your Quicksilver card and get 50% back as a statement credit on your monthly Spotify Premium subscription, now through April 2018. There is a 3% balance transfer fee, but the cash rewards could easily offset that over the long run for you.

The Verdict: Many credit cards with introductory 0% interest don't offer rewards. You win in four ways if you use this card to pay down debt. 1) Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. 2) Get unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day that can also be used to speed your way to being debt-free. 3) 9 months of 0% introductory APR to pay off your balance transfer. 4) No annual fee makes it a cost-effective choice for ditching debt.

Most Appropriate For: If you want to earn cash back rewards, while you pay down your debt, this card gives you a straight-forward deal. Earn unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day. If your credit has a few blemishes, don't worry. This card is a fantastic option if you have good credit.

Least Appropriate For: If you need a longer period to pay off your debt, consider the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Intro Offer on BT and Purchases. That card will give you an intro APR of 0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers* to chip away at your debt.

Credit Required: Good to Excellent.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Intro APR of 0% for 15 months on purchases and 0% for 15 months on balance transfers. Rewards rate of 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. $0 annual fee.

Big grocery spenders and commuters take notice! If you spend a lot on groceries and gas, this card offers you a smart way to tackle your high-interest debt, while scoring exceptionally high cash-back rewards. Take advantage of an intro APR of 0% for 15 months on purchases and 0% for 15 months on balance transfers with this $0 annual fee card. You'll get well over a year to chip away at your high-interest debt when you transfer your balance to this card, while earning serious cash-back along the way. Many cards with long 0% intro periods don't offer sign-up bonuses or rewards. With this card, you will get a welcome offer of a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Fashionistas also get a cash-back boost from this card that offers 2% cash back at select U.S. department stores.

The Verdict: This is an outstanding choice if you are looking to hit the brakes on high-interest debt, while earning a big rewards rate on your grocery and gas spending. It's hassle-free earning, no rotating bonus categories. The $0 annual fee means you won't pay more to tackle your high-interest debt.

Most Appropriate For: This card is a winner for big grocery and gas spenders, with one of the highest rewards rates for those categories with no annual fee. Use the generous 0% introductory interest APR period to power through your debt.

Least Appropriate For: If you need a longer time to pay down your balance, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Intro Offer on BT and Purchases is a better choice for you.

Credit Required: Good, Excellent

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Imagine getting almost two years with 0% interest on purchases or a balance transfer. Reshape your financial picture with this industry-leading low-interest card from Citi.

For people who want to kick high-interest credit card debt to the curb once and for all, this is one of the best get-out-debt cards available. Transfer your high-interest debt to the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever and receive an intro APR of 0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers*. During the intro period your entire payment will go directly to paying down your balance. That could save you hundreds of dollars in interest. Take the time you need to put your financial house in order. If you have major expenses on the horizon, like a wedding, a big trip, new furniture or appliances, this card delivers you an incredible intro APR of 0%* for 21 months on Purchases* to pay down that purchase with no interest. That’s right. Almost two years with no interest. This card is a great match if you occasionally pay a bill late. True to its name, this simple card has no late fees, no penalty APR if you miss a payment and no annual fee. The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is best in class beating other 0% intro offers by six to nine months.

The Verdict: This card offers an industry-leading 0% introductory period, which is an amazing offer. There is a balance transfer fee, but you could save hundreds of dollars in interest over the intro period, which makes the fee worth it.

Most Appropriate For: If you want to pay down credit card debt interest-free over a long period of time, this card is a near perfect match.

Least Appropriate For:If you are looking to earn cash-back rewards, while you pay down your debt the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a better choice for you.

Credit Required: Excellent/Good

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

Take control of your finances with the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card. This no-annual fee card gives you a long 0% for 18 months on balance transfers.

If you only make the minimum payments on high-interest credit card debt, it could take years to pay it off. Using a card like this means every cent you pay during the intro period will go toward paying down your balance. Wells Fargo is one of the few card issuers to offer generous cell phone protection. This card offers up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card. If you need breathing room on upcoming purchases before interest kicks in, this card also gives you a very long purchase intro rate of 0% for 18 months. There is a typical balance transfer fee of 3% Intro for 18 months, then 5%.

The Verdict: This is the total debt fighting package all wrapped up in one offer. This card gives you all the tools you need to get out of debt, plus unique cell phone protection that make this card shine. If you are budget-conscious, having $600 protection on your cell phone could make a big impact if your cell phone is stolen or damaged.

Most Appropriate For: This card is perfect for people looking to get out of debt and want to pay it off over time with no interest and no annual fee.

Least Appropriate For: This offer is aimed at those with excellent credit, if your credit is good (not great) the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Intro Offer on BT and Purchases may be a better choice for you.

Credit Required: Excellent

* Savings calculation: Credit Card Balance * (1+Average Card Rate/365)^639 days – Balance Transfer Fee - Average Household Credit Card Balance Balance transfer fee is minimum of 3% or $10
** Monthly interest calculated on $10k balance at 18% as: 10000*(1+(0.18/360))^365-10000)/12

*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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Picture of Carolyn Buckner

By: | Oct 20, 2017

Great credit card Comparison Charts

Picture of Lovette Streets

By: | Oct 12, 2017

This is a well-laid-out site and was very helpful in determining which card is best for me. Thanks.

Picture of Donna Mock Redd

By: | Sep 27, 2017

In trying to rebuild credit, what would be the best card to use? I have had issues in the past and have paid off all cards. However, I need to rebuild some positive credit. To date, the only thing on my report shows paid off delinquent accounts.

1 Reply

By: Cherrie Mckinstry | Oct 2, 2017

Continue to us your credit card but buy something for a couple dollars and just pay it. You don't have to buy an expensive item or just stuff to make monthly payments with. they check spending habits and your ability to avoid buying impulse items that will rack up your bill. Do you save any money in an account other than checking?

Picture of Phyllis Pruett

By: | Sep 23, 2017

I really enjoy using my Chase Visa Credit Card....I would highly recommend it over all the cards. Also, I have a Discover It card as well. I use it from time to time as well.....

Picture of Dee White-Rush

By: | Sep 3, 2017

Can you use any of these cards internationally without fees?

3 Replies

By: CompareCards | Sep 7, 2017

Check out our page for credit cards with no foreign transaction fees to see all the best options for traveling overseas!

By: CompareCards | Sep 7, 2017

Check out our page for credit cards with no foreign transaction fees to see all the best options for traveling overseas!

By: Felicia Moreno Mikolajczak | Oct 14, 2017

YES, I have my from back of America travel rewards, l can use it internationally without any fee, I love it.

Picture of Lisa Hardesty Mariani

By: | Aug 31, 2017

Is there a card that offers 0% interest with travel rewards?

1 Reply

By: CompareCards | Sep 1, 2017

Check out the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card!

Picture of Debbie Doney

By: | Aug 28, 2017

I am interested in a credit card that I could transfer other credit card balances so I could have one monthly payment instead of many monthly payments. What would you suggest?

1 Reply

By: CompareCards | Sep 1, 2017

This would be possible with most balance transfer credit cards. Check out our balance transfer credit cards page to see all of the best options!

Picture of Gary Saracene

By: | Aug 23, 2017

The best card is one that has a long interest free time period and has no fee on the balance being transferred.

3 Replies

By: Emily Knight | Aug 25, 2017

You will get no argument from me. That is ideal.

By: Carol R. Smith | Aug 28, 2017

Which one is that? Maybe I missed some information,

By: Tania Rastrow | Oct 16, 2017

check out BankAmeicard by Bank of America. No Annual fee. 0% Introductory APR for the first 15 months. If you do the Balance Transfer within the first 60 days of account opening, the BT fee is waived!!!

Picture of Joyce Dominick

By: | Aug 9, 2017

I am new to credit cards, was wondering why would you transfer balance of your credit card..I have had my card with Capital for about a year, with an APR of 25.49%. Could/should I transfer?

14 Replies

By: CompareCards | Aug 14, 2017

Balance transfers are useful if you have an outstanding balance on a card with a very high interest rate, and you want to pay off the balance without paying interest. Opening a new credit card with an intro 0% APR on balance transfers can help you pay off your debt interest free - check out some of our best balance transfer cards here. Depending on the size of your balance and your creditworthiness, this could be a great option for you.

By: Turtle Schultz | Aug 15, 2017

I would say yes with that high interest you are paying. Don't ever pay that high of interest on a credit card that are way too many credit cards out there to get with much lower interest rates.

By: Dottie Cales Caudill | Aug 17, 2017

You will most likely have to pay a fee to transfer but in the long run you will save money by doing the transfer.

By: April Heather Cunningham | Aug 19, 2017

Joyce that is a very high APR .... you should be able to find a lower APR on the transfer .... watch for how the APR changes when the 12 mths ends or if they offer 24 mths.

By: Marcia Clary | Aug 23, 2017

Hi Joyce, It would be to your benefit to transfer the balance on your Capital One card. You will save ton of money with a 0% card by not paying that high interest rate. Something to definitely look into.

By: Emily Knight | Aug 25, 2017

Look at your balance and the interest you have been paying. If you are paying more during the same time period (lets say 21 month period) that the 0% interest is offering then it makes sense to transfer.

By: Dash Dash | Aug 26, 2017

Yes, transfer balances that way you pay no interest for so many months, good idea

By: Turtle Schultz | Sep 1, 2017

Definitely, do the transfer. Why pay them almost 26% interest when you can transfer the balance you have to a card to where you pay NO interest for over a year or more. Do you know how much money that would save you???

By: WeedMee Weedmee | Sep 16, 2017

yes, take advantage of being able to save money by transferring your debt to another credit card that can offer a much lower interest rate. However do not close the other credit card as it may lower your credit score, it is okay to leave it open with a 0 balance as long as you want.

By: Renee I. Guerrero-Adams | Sep 25, 2017

Yes, you get to save on interest at least a year 25% is way to high!

By: Tamara Dean | Oct 4, 2017

joyce hi, ...yes please please transfer your balance, that is the highest apr. I have ever seen. get a card with 0 interest for 21 months if you can. that way you can pay your card down without that high rate for at least 21 months

By: Donnie Gibson | Oct 9, 2017

chase credit card is the way to go

By: Sue King | Oct 14, 2017

Yes, yes. Yes!!! Most offer rates of 14% when the 0% time expires.

By: Turtle Schultz | Oct 15, 2017

Definitely. Transfer to a zero balance interest rate for their promo period and think of all the money you will save.

Picture of Judy Callaghan

By: | Aug 8, 2017

Wondering if I can use the Well Fargo Visa for Dental work that I need done?

2 Replies

By: CompareCards | Aug 9, 2017

As long as your purchases don't exceed your credit limit, you will be able to use the card. Try to pay off the balance as quickly as possible though in order to avoid paying fees or interest.

By: Mary Ellen Wolf | Aug 17, 2017

Hi Judy - I've used by credit card to charge for dental work all the time. It's a great way to pay.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.