Houston – Texans saw the nation’s second-highest increase in credit card debt this year, according to a new WalletHub study. After a record reduction in credit card debt across the county last year, it is seriously increasing again.
WalletHub reports that Texas households owe an average of $ 9,516 in credit card debt.
You may have started receiving 0% APR introductory balance transfer credit card offers in the mail again. These offers declined sharply during the pandemic as lenders worried about the risk. But they’re back in force, with long periods of 0% interest.
If you use them carefully, they can help you pay off your debts.
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“Our recent survey found that 42% of people with credit card debt actually have more now than they had when the pandemic began,” said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate.
One way to pay off this debt faster is to transfer it to a 0% APR balance transfer credit card, which until recently was hard to come by during the pandemic.
“Some of the major players include Citi. They have a few cards that give you no interest for 18 months. Wells Fargo just launched a new card called the Reflect card. The standard offer is 18 months interest free, but it can go up to ‘at 21 months,’ Rossman said.
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Bankrate, Wallethub, and NerdWallet among many sites that offer comparisons of different 0% balance transfer cards, so you can choose how long, fee, and rate you will pay when that 0% rate expires.
To get the highest possible credit limit to cover the debt you’re transferring, make sure you choose a card with 0% for transfers over purchases, and check your credit score.
“This is a 0% balance transfer card. You don’t want to make any new purchases with this card,” Jill Gonzalez said with WalletHub.
“They usually look for a credit score, I would say, somewhere between the top 600 and the bottom 700,” Rossman said.
Then do the math. Most of these cards have a 3% to 5% transfer fee. It’s $ 30 to $ 50 for every $ 1,000 transferred. Leave room in your credit limit for these charges when calculating the amount of debt you will transfer. And make sure you can afford the payments to pay off the balance before the 0% introductory period expires.
“It gives you a deadline to be able to pay off that credit card debt,” Gonzalez explained.
After the introductory period, interest rates are generally much higher. If you won’t be able to pay off the balance before then, you may want to consider a personal loan instead. Credible.com offers a comparison of personal loan rates from online lenders.