Credit cards can help build your credit history and fill in when you’re short on cash. But they can also be a burden if you’re juggling multiple monthly payments.
Debt calculators take your current balances, interest rates and budget into account when determining a payment strategy that best suits you. Depending on the debt payoff strategy you choose, these credit card calculators will show you how long it’ll take to become debt-free — some even show the amount of interest you’ll save in the process.
In this guide, you’ll discover the most common debt payoff methods and how to calculate your payoff schedule.
There are many ways to pay off credit cards. Several tried-and-true methods will help you achieve debt-free status without putting too much stress on your budget. Below are key steps to organize your multiple credit card payoff calculator.
Credit card repayment starts with creating a monthly budget and making adjustments to free up extra cash to pay off credit cards.
Once you’ve set your budget and set aside funds to pay off your debt, you can start paying off multiple credit cards. If your budget doesn’t leave room to make extra credit card payments, you may want to consider different ways to earn extra money, such as taking on a side gig like:
- Delivering food
- Driving for a ridesharing company
- Performing side tasks, like furniture assembly or lawn mowing
- Taking on freelance work
Before diving into paying off multiple credit cards, it’s best to organize them. You can organize them in three ways: credit card balance, minimum monthly payment and interest rate.
Collect your monthly credit card statements or log in to each account to find your credit card balance. It’ll be in a section named “Total Balance.” Don’t confuse this with the statement balance, which is often lower than the total balance.
List your credit card balances on a piece of paper or spreadsheet in order from the highest balance to the lowest.
You’ll also find an area on your credit card statements that lists the minimum monthly payment amount. Create another list that orders your minimum payments from lowest to highest.
Finally, near the bottom of the last page on your statement, you’ll find a section called “Interest Charges.” Make a third list of your credit card interest rates from highest to lowest. If multiple credit cards have the same interest rate, list the one with the highest total balance first.
Once you have this information in one document, you’ll have a clear picture of your credit card debt and can move on to choosing a repayment option.
There are four main ways to pay off multiple credit cards: debt avalanche, debt snowball and 0% balance transfer. Each has its pros, cons and limitations.
The debt avalanche payoff method prioritizes paying off credit cards with the highest interest rates first. If multiple credit cards have the same interest rate, you prioritize the one with the highest balance.
Using the debt avalanche method, you make the minimum payment on all your credit cards, then apply the rest of your budget to the credit card with the highest interest rate.
Once that card is paid off, repeat the process with the card with the next highest interest rate.
For example, let’s say you have $300 and the following credit cards:
- Card 1
- $1,000 balance
- 21% APR
- $35 monthly minimum payment
- Card 2
- $1,500 balance
- 19% APR
- $40 monthly minimum payment
- Card 3
- $500 balance
- 18.75% APR
- $25 monthly minimum payment
Using the debt avalanche method, you make the minimum payments on Card 2 and Card 3, then put your remaining $235 budget toward Card 1.
Once you pay off Card 1, you make the minimum payment on Card 3 and put your remaining $275 budget toward Card 2. The key is to continue putting $300 toward your balances until they’re entirely paid off.
Calculating the time to pay off multiple credit cards using the debt avalanche method requires a complex equation involving interest rates and balances. Calculator.net has a debt payoff calculator you can use as a multiple credit card payoff calculator.
The debt avalanche method saves you the most money on interest charges and gets you out of debt faster.
However, because you’ll pay the highest balances first, you may have to wait a while before seeing the first credit card balance reach $0. If you need quick victories to help keep you motivated, you may prefer the debt snowball method.
The debt snowball method is similar to debt avalanche, but instead prioritizes paying off the credit card with the smallest balance first. You make the minimum payments on all your credit cards, then focus all your extra funds on the lowest balance credit card.
Once you pay off the card with the lowest balance, you apply that monthly payment to the card with the next lowest balance.
Using the previous example, you’d start by paying $225 per month on “credit card 3” until you pay it off while making minimum payments on the remaining credit cards. You’d then roll that $225 on top of the minimum payment on “credit card 1,” making the new monthly payment $2605 ($225+$35) while continuing to make the minimum payments on “credit card 2.” Once you pay off “credit card 1,” you’d roll its payment onto the minimum payment for “credit card 2,” making its monthly payment $300 ($260+$40).
Like the debt avalanche method, the debt snowball method requires a complex equation to sort out how long it’ll take to be debt-free. AmeriChoice Federal Credit Union has a debt snowball calculator you can use as a multiple credit card payoff calculator.
Because the debt snowball method prioritizes the smallest balances, it can deliver confidence-boosting payoffs early in the process to keep you motivated.
The downside is that you end up making only the minimum payments on your high-interest credit cards, which can increase your total interest charges over time.
Some credit card issuers offer 0% interest on balance transfers for a specific promotional period, generally 12-18 months. If you can secure a 0% balance transfer card with a high enough credit limit to cover all your credit card debt, you can save lots of time and money.
While these cards charge no interest, they typically charge a 3-4% balance transfer fee.
Using the previous example, if you transferred all three credit cards to a balance transfer credit card with an 18-month 0% promotion, you’d pay a $90-$120 balance transfer fee but would save big on interest.
With the $300 monthly debt repayment budget you set, you’d be debt-free within 11 months and pay $0 in interest.
Assuming a 4% balance transfer fee, you could also opt to lower your monthly debt repayment budget to $173.33 per month and still be debt-free in 18 months while paying no interest.
To calculate how long it’ll take to be debt-free, add the balance transfer fee amount to the total balances you transferred. Then, divide that number by the amount of money you can pay toward the debt each month.
You likely need a good credit score to get approved for a balance transfer credit card. Also beware that if you don’t pay off the entire balance within the promotional 0% APR period, you’ll start paying interest on the remaining balance when the promotion expires.
A debt consolidation loan is an efficient way to pay off multiple high-interest-rate credit cards. Not only does it take multiple monthly payments down to just one, but it often has a lower interest rate than your credit cards, which can save you money. In some cases, it can even result in a lower monthly payment.
Using the previous example, if you took out a three-year debt consolidation loan for your credit cards with a 10% interest rate, your monthly payment would be just $96 per month. If you were to put your $300 monthly budget toward this consolidation loan, you’d be out of debt in just 11 months.
A loan calculator from Bankrate shows how additional payments can impact the time it’ll take to pay off your debts.
An alternative to a traditional debt consolidation loan is Tally. Tally offers low interest rates on a revolving line of credit that allows you to combine all your cards into one monthly payment.
Tally can help you save money on interest and get you out of debt faster. Use Tally’s credit card debt payoff calculator to find out how much Tally can save you on your credit cards.
Managing multiple credit card payments can be stressful and strain your budget. With a multiple credit card payoff calculator, you can develop a plan to pay off your credit cards and live a debt-free life.
It all starts with organization and choosing which debt-repayment plan is best for you:
- Debt avalanche
- Debt snowball
- 0% balance transfer
- Debt consolidation
Regardless of your debt-repayment choice, you can use simple math or an online credit card calculator to gain insight into how long it’ll take you to get out of debt and how much interest you’ll save.