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Make your credit card repayments work for you

Sick of that credit card debt looming over your head? Or perhaps you want to start off on the right foot with your first credit card, armed with strategies to help you pay off the balance in full each month. Read on.

Eight hacks that might help you get on top of your credit card debt

1. Pay the full closing balance

It seems like an obvious thing to say, but paying the full closing balance on your credit card each month can be a great habit to get into.

If your account has interest free periods on purchases, you can avoid paying interest on the “purchases balance” by always paying the full closing balance and any immediately due amounts, shown on each statement of account by the applicable due date.

If you don’t pay the full closing balance shown on a statement of account by the applicable due date, you’ll generally be charged interest on your “purchases balance” from the day after the due date shown on that statement.

Understanding your credit card interest-free period

2. Align your due date with your pay cheque

Changing the date that you make your credit card repayments might help you feel a little more in control. You might want to investigate if it’s possible to line up your statement “due date” with your pay day, so that you can make payments towards your credit card balance as soon as your pay arrives.

Some credit card issuers allow you to change your credit card due date – it could be worth checking and considering.

3. It’s not just about paying the minimum amount

So here’s a handy fact. The more that's paid above the “minimum repayment amount” on a credit card statement each month, the faster the credit card debt should go down (assuming there are no more transactions on the account and the account doesn't incur additional fees or charges).

Yes, it could be tempting to make only the minimum repayment. But this approach could end up costing more in the long run because of the interest that can be charged.

Take a look at your credit card statement. Every statement should provide a “minimum repayment warning” that provides an estimate of how long it would take to pay off your credit card debt if you only pay the minimum amount each month (assuming there are no more transactions on the account and that fees and interest don't change).

It should also show you an estimate of how much interest you could end up paying if you go down this path. If you don’t fancy paying that amount of interest over all those years, then you need a plan to pay down that debt.

4. Adjust your budget

Consider adding a new expense to your trusty budget. Call it “monthly credit card payment”. The amount? You’ll need to do some simple maths here. Look at your other financial commitments and consider what you could pay.

To keep your budget in balance, you may need to strike out some expenses. Look for non-essential items that you could do without – perhaps online streaming services, new clothes or trips to the movies?

5. Commit to the new normal

With your plan in place and a timeframe in mind, it’s time to make it work. You might want to consider tools like setting up direct debitsdisclaimer, or diary entries to help you avoid missing a repayment. If you’re paying more than the minimum amount on the statement and minimising new expenses, then you should start to see the impact.

6. Consider using your savings

Compare the interest you earn in a savings account to the interest you’re paying on a credit card. There could be a big difference. As in, the interest you earn on savings may be smaller than the interest you pay on your credit card debt.

If that’s the case for you, you could consider using some of your savings to wipe the debt slate clean. But doing this might not be right for everyone. You'll need to consider your finances and personal situation and should consider seeking independent professional advice to check what's best for you and your unique circumstances.

7. Stop. Using. Your. Card.

You may want to put the plastic safely away and stop using it while you focus on paying off or paying down your credit card debt. To keep spending may only serve to increase the size of the repayments you’ll need to make, the length of time it could take to pay off or down the card, and the amount of interest you might pay.

You could also think about decreasing your credit limit to help you avoid temptation.

8. Talk to your credit card provider

It’s important to keep up with your credit card repayments. If you miss repayments, you could pay interest and fees you could otherwise avoiddisclaimer. And if you don’t maintain a healthy repayment history, your credit rating could be affected, which in turn could affect your chances when applying for loans down the track.

If you’re worried about your credit card debt and your ability to make repayments, you should contact your credit card provider. They may be able to assist and provide tools and resources to help relieve any financial stress.

If you're an ANZ customer having difficulty making your credit card repayments, you can call us on 1800 252 845 or apply for financial assistance.

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All applications for credit are subject to ANZ’s credit assessment criteria. Terms and conditions are available on application. Fees and charges apply. Australian credit licence number 234527.

Information in this article refers to personal credit cards, is general in nature only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. 

By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations. You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.

The information may be subject to change. ANZ recommends you review your personal credit card contract for information about the terms that apply to you.

ANZ interest rates and fees and terms and conditions are subject to change. Refer to the current credit card interest rates, fees and terms for further information and current interest rates, fees and terms.

Direct debiting is not available on all accounts. If in doubt, please refer to your bank or financial institution. Terms and conditions may apply to direct debit arrangements, including that your nominated account has sufficient cleared funds. Temporary service disruptions may occur. Contact your credit card provider for further details. ANZ recommends you read the applicable Terms and Conditions and the ANZ Financial Services Guide before acquiring any ANZ product with a direct debit arrangement. 

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ANZ consumer credit card account holders can avoid Late Payment Fees by paying the Minimum Monthly Payment shown on their statement of account by the due date, as well as paying any overlimit amounts or overdue amounts. At ANZ, if a consumer credit card account has interest-free periods on purchases, the account holder can avoid paying interest on the purchases balance by always paying the full Closing Balance (or if applicable, the ‘Adjusted Closing Balance’) shown on each statement of account by the applicable due date. The Adjusted Closing Balance is calculated as the closing balance less the sum of any relevant Promotional Plan balances that relate to an Instalment Plan, a Buy Now Pay Later plan, or a Promotional Balance Transfer Plan. If the account holder doesn’t pay the full Closing Balance (or if applicable, your ‘Adjusted Closing Balance’) shown on a statement of account by the applicable due date, they will generally be charged interest on their purchases balance from the day after the Due Date shown on that statement. Not all transactions (e.g., cash advances) get the benefit of interest-free days. Refer to the applicable credit contract for details.

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