I made some questionable decisions in college, including not-so-great boyfriends, bad box dye jobs and keg stands. But only one followed me into responsible adulthood: my five figures of credit card debt.
A lot of that debt went toward books for my college courses, groceries, flights home for the holidays and other important things that I don’t regret. But some of it went to new clothes, Ubers when I didn’t feel like taking public transit, dinners at chichi restaurants and other things I really didn’t need.
Now, I have a great credit score. I always made at least the minimum payment on time. But once the introductory offer of 0% interest ended and a punishingly high interest rate of 23.49% APR kicked in, I knew this wasn’t working for me.
Seeking a solution for credit card debt
When my interest rate spiked, I was no longer able to make much of a dent in my overall balance. I felt extremely frustrated and a little bit panicked. I tried to put more and more of my paycheck towards it, but the progress was very slow. When I ran the numbers and realized how long it was going to take me to pay it off, I went looking for solutions. Should I get a second job? Should I find a cheaper apartment? Should I cut out Netflix and avocado toast and see if that helps?
Instead, I applied for a personal loan. There are quite a few companies that offer personal loans to consolidate credit card debt and I found that most of them have a quick and easy online application process. I entered my name, birthdate, contact information and income before the lenders ran a soft credit check that didn’t impact my credit score. Then, I got loan offers from each company and compared interest rates as well as payment options. If you can afford higher monthly payments, you will usually save money on interest as well as get the dopamine rush of paying off your debts that much earlier.
After carefully reviewing interest rates, loan terms including any fees, and monthly payment amounts, I went with the lender that offered the lowest interest rate. I chose a payment plan somewhere in the middle—not the lowest monthly payment, not the highest, but something I knew I could realistically afford every month. Because of the significantly lower interest rate, I would pay off this loan years faster than I would have had I continued to pay the minimum amount to my credit card company each month.
Once I signed off on the loan, the funds were quickly disbursed directly into my bank account. The lender took out an origination fee of 3% based on my credit score. From application to the moment I was able to pay off my credit card with the funds took about a week.
How my repayment is going now
I’m still paying for my questionable college spending, but the balance is steadily falling each month as I save money on interest and enjoy a simpler, more predictable payment plan. Plus, getting that balance off my credit card boosted my credit score.
If you’re struggling with your credit card debt, it could be worth it to explore your options for consolidating that debt with personal loans. Especially if you have a good credit score, it can make a big difference in the total amount you pay and the time it takes to pay off that debt. Do your research: Make sure it’s a reputable lender, that the interest rate is better than your credit card’s, and that you can afford the monthly payments. Then congratulate yourself for making much better financial decisions than you made in college.