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 Stop Paying Interest On Your Balance Immediately

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® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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This credit card has an intro APR of 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, no annual fee and only requires good credit. That’s not even the best part. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.


The generous cash back rate makes this card one of the best credit cards for balance transfers and cash back rewards. It’s great for transferring high-interest debt, and getting cash back for any purchases without having to worry about rotating categories.


You can save over $800 in interest charges if you transfer $5,000 in interest accruing charges at a 20% APR. On top of that, if you spend $500 each month on common purchases you can earn $5 on purchase and another $5 when you pay it off. That’s $120 in annual rewards!


The Verdict: This is an industry leader for cash back rewards. When you add in the intro APR of 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers you’re looking at a very powerful card that you can use to save money on high-interest debt, then use as a cash rewards card afterwards. All of this make this card one of our most popular offers.


Most Appropriate For: If you’d like to earn cash back on everything you buy while paying down a balance.


Credit Required: Excellent/Good

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

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Citi is the leader in long 0% intro interest periods. Get 0% intro APR for almost two years on balance transfers. This card is perfect for people looking to get out of debt with an ultra-long intro APR period of 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers, followed by 13.74% - 23.74% (Variable) APR after that.


Take advantage of ultra-long intro APR 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers. If you have a big purchase, event or trip coming up, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card comes with an amazing intro APR of 0% for 12 months on Purchases; after that, an APR of 13.74% - 23.74% (Variable) applies. Take up to a full year to pay down your balance without worrying about interest piling up. Enjoy extra features that are usually only available on premium high-annual fee cards. Get free access to your FICO® score online. With Citi Entertainment, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, and dining experiences.


The Verdict: This $0 annual fee card towers above others with one of the the longest 0% intro APR periods on balance transfers available.


Most Appropriate For: If you are interested in transferring a balance to a 0% intro APR card, this is our highest rated card for anyone carrying a large balance. The extra interest-free time could allow you to make significantly more headway paying down your balance.


Credit Required: Excellent/Good

BankAmericard® credit card

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This card just seriously upped its game, extending its intro APR to one of the longest available. Take advantage of impressive 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers with this $0 annual fee card.


If you're looking for a break on interest, check out this top-tier $0 annual fee card. Finance a new purchase with generous 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases then 12.99% - 22.99% Variable APR after that intro period is up - that means no monthly interest charges will pile up for almost two years if you end up carrying a balance month-to-month. Plus, this card also helps you stop paying high interest charges on an outstanding balance with 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then 12.99% - 22.99% Variable APR after that. And unlike some other cards, there is no penalty APR. That means a late payment won’t automatically raise your interest rate. The balance transfer fee is either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater. Plus, if you're a new cardholder, you can earn a $100 statement credit online bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.


The Verdict: This is a great low interest card with one of the longest periods of intro interest available, and the $0 annual fee means you won’t pay for card membership. Get a better interest rate now with BankAmericard® credit card.


Most Appropriate For: If you want to get out of debt, this card has all the tools you need. This card is perfect for people who want long 0% introductory interest on purchases and balance transfers.


Credit Required: Excellent/Good

Citi Simplicity® Card

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It's back! Take advantage of 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers with $0 annual fee. with this outstanding offer from Citi.


Reshape your financial picture with this industry-leading low-interest card from Citi - the Citi Simplicity® Card. For people who want to kick high-interest credit card debt to the curb, this is one of the best get-out-of-debt cards available. Transfer your high interest debt to this card with an intro APR of 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers; after that, an APR of 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) applies. Your payments will go directly to paying down your balance without incurring a pile of additional charges. That could save you hundreds of dollars in interest. It doesn't just stop with balance transfers though. Cardholders also get a generous intro APR of 0% for 12 months on Purchases, then 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) APR after that. Citi keeps it simple: it’s the only card with no late fees, no penalty rate, and $0 annual fee. If you’re one to forget about a payment or two, this card is perfect for you.


The Verdict: Citi Simplicity® Card is one of the best balance transfer offers available. If you want a long period of time to pay down your debt, you’ve found it in this amazing offer.


Most Appropriate For: This card is our highest rated choice for anyone carrying a large balance. The extra interest-free time will allow you to make significantly more headway in paying down debt, even factoring in the balance transfer fee. If you want to pay down credit card debt interest-free over a long period of time, this card is a near perfect match.


Credit Required: Excellent/Good

Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card

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This card from Wells Fargo rewards you for what you should already be doing – consistently paying down your credit card bill month-to-month – with extensions to its 0% intro APR periods. That gives you more time to pay off your balance without incurring additional fees.


If you’ve got a substantial expense looming on the horizon, the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card has you covered with 18 months of 0% intro APR on purchases followed by an ongoing 12.99%-24.99% Variable APR after that. But where this card really sets itself apart is by giving you the opportunity to extend that already top-shelf savings period by up to another 3 months if you make all your minimum monthly payments on-time; that has the potential for an outstanding 0% intro APR up to 21 months from account opening - almost two years! And the same offer applies to balance transfers as well – if you’re transferring a balance from a different high-interest credit card, you could get 0% intro APR up to 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers if you make all your minimum monthly payments, with the same 12.99%-24.99% Variable APR after that. This $0 annual fee card is an exceptional savings tool because it rewards you for what you should already be doing – promptly paying down your credit card debt – and with such generous windows on interest-free time to make that happen, you could end up saving hundreds of dollars in interest fees alone. If you’re looking to get out of debt without getting buried under a massive pile of fees, this could be just the card for you.


The Verdict: We're really excited about this new card from Wells Faro because of its laser-focus on saving you money when it comes to interest payments.


Most Appropriate For: Those looking to get our of credit card debt by making consistent on-time payments each and every month.


Credit Required: Good/Excellent

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

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The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is one of the most innovative cards on the market, offering a rewards program that tailors itself to your spending habits.


It all starts with the incredible suite of cash back rewards. Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Unlike many cards that require you to go in and manually select a top cash back category, this card automatically determines the category where you’ve spent the most and applies the highest rate of cash back return, ensuring you’ll always be maximizing your earning potential. Plus, you’ll get 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases, then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) APR based on creditworthiness. It's the same for balance transfers: 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers, then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) APR after that intro period is up. And as if it couldn’t get any better, this card also sports a $0 annual fee.


The Verdict: This card really surprised us with its unique and innovative rewards program, and its extensive suite of other features make it one you shouldn’t miss.


Most Appropriate For: If don’t want to bother with remembering to enable your rotating cash back categories, this is the ideal card for you.


Credit Required: Excellent/Good

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

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This card is unique because of its incredibly robust cash back program – no other card on this list gives you the flexibility in choosing the perfect rewards category for you each and every month.


The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card starts off by offering a solid period of 0% intro APR on balance transfers - 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days and then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR after that intro period is up. But where this card really shines is in its rewards program: earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), 1% cash back on all other purchases and, if you’re a new cardholder, $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. And since this card has no annual fee, you can maximize your rewards without having to worry about extra costs.


The Verdict: While this card doesn’t have the longest period of 0% intro APR for balance transfers on this list, its compelling cash back rewards package is hard to ignore.


Most Appropriate For: Those looking to transfer a smaller balance or pay off their balance more quickly, and those looking for a solid everyday cash back card.


Credit Required: Excellent/Good

 

Discover it® Cash Back

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When it comes to cash-back credit cards the Discover it® Cash Back is in a league of its own. Not only can you earn generous cash back rewards, this card comes with long 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers.


Transfer your high-interest balance to this card with intro APR 0% Intro APR for 14 months then 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR. Enjoy 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. And if you're a new cardholder, you can take advantage of Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300. Log into your Discover account each quarter to activate the 5% cash-back bonus. Finance purchases with intro APR 0% Intro APR for 14 months then, 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR after that. Get all this for $0 annual fee.


The Verdict: With your first-year sign-up bonus, take home an incredible 10% cash back on category spending.


Most Appropriate For: If you want long 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers and if you buy things at gas stations, wholesale clubs, grocery stores, restaurants and Amazon.com.


Credit Required: Excellent/Good

Citi Rewards+® Card

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Take advantage of intro APR 0% for 15 months on purchases then 13.49% - 23.49% (variable) and intro APR 0% for 15 months on balance transfers then 13.49% - 23.49% (variable).


Earn more points on every purchase (even the little ones). The Citi Rewards+® Card is the only card that automatically rounds up every purchase to the nearest 10 points. That means when you buy a $2 coffee, you’d earn 10 points back. You also get 10% points for the first 100,000 ThankYou® Points redeemed per year. Cardholders rake in Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.. There is a low spending requirement to earn the sign-up bonus. Earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $200 in gift cards at thankyou.com.


The Verdict: This attractive new rewards card from Citi includes long zero intro interest on both purchases and balance transfers, a nice sign-up bonus all with $0 annual fee.


Most Appropriate For: This is a great everyday rewards card that also features an attractive balance transfer offer.


Credit Required: Excellent/Good

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

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The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card is an absolute game-changer in the rewards space with the most impressive unlimited cash back rate we’ve ever seen on a no-annual-fee card.


How is this card re-shaping the rewards landscape? It all starts with its headline feature: cardholders earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases with no restrictions on categories and no expiration date on rewards. Let that sink in – no other card on the market today offers such a high rate of truly unlimited cash back. If you’re looking for a no-maintenance card that can help you maximize your returns on every purchase you make, this is absolutely it. And it gets even better if you’re a new cardholder: you can earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months from account open. But this no-annual fee card isn’t just good for rewards – it’s also an excellent way to mitigate the cost of a large expense or get out of debt. The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card offers over a year of 0% intro APR on purchases: 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then 14.99%-24.99% (Variable) APR after that intro period is up. And if you’re transferring a balance from a high-interest credit card, you can get the same period of 0% intro APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, then 14.99%-24.99% (Variable) APR after that. This gives you incredible flexibility in covering life’s unexpected (and often expensive) developments, and with this card’s already industry-leading rewards program you can feel confident always having this card in your wallet.


The Verdict: This card’s high rate of unlimited cash back rewards makes it unique among no annual fee cards – if you’re looking for the best unlimited cash back card on the market, you’ve found it.


Most Appropriate For: People looking to maximize their cash back benefit without having to bother with remembering categories or paying an annual fee.


Credit Required: Excellent/Good

Discover it® Balance Transfer

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This flagship balance transfer card from Discover pairs an incredibly long period of 0% intro APR on balance transfers with a solid ongoing rewards rate and truly stunning welcome offer.


The Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card offers a blockbuster combination of 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers with the opportunity to earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. And that rewards program only gets better when you consider this card's astonishing sign-up feature: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.


While this card has an incredibly competitive suite of rewards, where the Discover it® Balance Transfer credit card really sets itself apart from the competition comes in the form of the long periods of 0% intro APR on offer for both purchases and balance transfers. If you want to transfer debt from a high-interest credit card, you can enjoy an intro APR of 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers, 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR after that. Even better, you can use all that extra interest-free time combined with the cash-back rewards you'll earn to pay down your debt even faster! Plus, enjoy added flexibility on purchases with an intro rate of 0% intro apr for 6 months, followed by 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR. This card really is the complete package, and with a $0 annual fee there's never been a better time to apply.


The 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.


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


Credit Required: Excellent/Good

Start Your Journey To Become Debt Free Now

If you are looking for a longer 0% intro APR offer, you may want to learn more about the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card, which offers 0% intro APR for 20 months on balance transfers. After that, the variable APR will be 14.49% - 24.49%* (Variable) APR, based on your creditworthiness. 

Looking for cash back and a balance transfer? The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is a top notch cash back card is a leader among cash-back cards, as well as a good option for balance transfers. Read more here

* 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

Methodology

Each month, the CompareCards team reviews over 100 credit card offers examining the features most valuable to consumers including rewards, sign-up bonus, the interest rate, fees and other features to identify the best offers shown here. 

*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.