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

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4.3/5.0 from 800 Offer Ratings
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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 ultra-long intro APR 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers.


Take advantage of ultra-long intro APR 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers. If you have a big purchase, event or trip coming up, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card comes with an amazing 0% for 18 months on Purchases. 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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on Bank of America's secure site

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3.8/5.0 from 273 Offer Ratings
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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.


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® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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4.8/5.0 from 357 Offer Ratings
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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

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

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4.7/5.0 from 205 Offer Ratings
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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® 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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3.7/5.0 from 400 Offer Ratings
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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% for 14 months then 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR. 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically Then, 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. That means, if you earn $300 in cash back in your first year, Discover will match it, making your total cash back for the year $600! Log into your Discover account each quarter to activate the 5% cash-back bonus. Finance purchases with intro APR 0% 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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on Citibank's secure site

 

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4.3/5.0 from 69 Offer Ratings
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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 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 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 Platinum card

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3.8/5.0 from 96 Offer Ratings
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Take control of your finances with the Wells Fargo Platinum card. This no-annual fee card offers an intro APR of 0% intro APR for 18 months on qualifying balance transfers and then 16.49%-24.49% (Variable) APR after that.


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. Even better, 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 card. And 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% intro APR for 18 months from account opening and then 16.49%-24.49% (Variable) APR after that intro period is up.


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.


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.