To continue enjoying all the features of Navy Federal Online, please use a compatible browser. You can confirm your browser capability here.

Bottom Line Up Front

  • If you feel you owe too much on your card accounts, there are ways to reduce your debt.
  • The average credit card balance has increased in recent years, but cardholders can find ways to reduce their debt and increase their consumer credit standing.
  • Contact your credit card issuer to negotiate a lower rate, look into consolidating your debt and try boosting your income or cutting expenses to apply more money to your debt.

Time to Read

2 minutes

April 7, 2022

Credit cards are powerful tools that can help you pay for expenses, build credit and earn rewards. But sometimes they can lead to excess debt. If you owe credit card debt, you’re not alone, and it’s not impossible to pay it off. These strategies can help.

Credit Card Debt in America

According to credit card debt statistics from the Federal Reserve, as of October 2021, U.S. consumers held over $1 trillion of outstanding revolving debt. WalletHub's credit card debt study found that consumers added a total of $71.4 billion during the last quarter of 2021. And according to the 2021 Experian's State of Credit report, Americans carry an average of more than $5,525 in credit card debt. That’s on top of student loans, auto loans and other types of debt carried by American households.

That’s a lot of loan debt to repay, and it can negatively impact your credit report. And, while some people (transactors) completely pay off credit card debt each month, many others (revolvers) don’t, which means they accrue interest charges each month. Being a revolver can cause your debt to grow because of accrued interest charges, even if you stop using the card. This can put you at risk of paying delinquency rates. Plus, credit cards are one of the most expensive ways to borrow money in terms of interest rates.

How to Reduce Credit Card Debt

You can reduce and prevent credit card debt with the following strategies:

  • Request a lower rate. Call your credit card company and ask for a lower card interest rate. Cite your customer loyalty and any lenders that offer lower credit card interest rates. 
  • Increase your income. Whether taking on overtime, getting a second job or asking for a raise, there are a number of ways to increase your income. You could even make money from a hobby, selling something you make or using a specialized skill to teach lessons. With that coverage, you could pay down your debt faster. 
  • Pay more than the minimum. If you can afford to pay more than your minimum payment every month, doing so will help you pay the debt off faster. Every little bit helps!
  • Cut back on spending. You can reduce spending in many ways; use our calculator to see how much you could save.
  • Consolidate debt. A balance transfer credit card lets you move credit card balances to a lower-interest card. This is a great way to take advantage of a lower interest rate from other issuers. Additionally, debt consolidation can make it simpler to repay your debt by reducing the number of monthly payments. 

We’re Here to Help

If you’re looking to reduce credit card debt and improve your finances, Navy Federal Credit Union can help. Contact our personal finance counselors for help managing your credit card debt or otherwise organizing your finances. 

Next Steps

  1. Consider reducing your expenses. Build a budget or speak to a financial counselor to find ways to cut back on spending. Whatever your financial situation, Navy Federal is here to help.
  2. Set up notifications to track your spending.*
  3. Request a lower interest rate on your credit card or consider a balance transfer in Next Steps to consolidate your debt under a card with a lower rate.

Disclosures

This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.