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One worldly traveler turned $12,000 in debt into a one-way ticket to success

Tally Spotlight features the true stories of people who have overcome their credit card debt.

Gregory Andersen

Managing Editor at Tally

July 30, 2019

Going into debt is far from ideal, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. For Marco, taking on credit card debt was a necessary step in reaching a new stage of his life.

Looking back on it now, he’s grateful for the experience and the confidence he got from Tally.

“I’ve been through it and come out the other side. I know how it works,” Marco says. “I dealt with debt once and, if needed, I know I can do it again.”

Uprooted and indebted

Marco’s debt dilemma first sprung up in 2015, as he was preparing to move back to the United States. He and his partner had spent five years prior living in Germany, but were getting ready to return to the United States in search of new job opportunities.

“My credit looked pretty bad at the time because I had a lot of expenses and was using my credit card to help with our move,” he says. “New furniture, new phone, new car. It all added up.”

Marco had five credit cards and used each one for a different purpose: groceries, gas and so on. He was making back-and-forth trips between Germany and the U.S. and had didn’t always have money on hand.

Inevitably, Marco began putting all of his expenses on credit cards.

“Credit cards can be valuable tools, especially when unexpected things come up,” says Bethy Hardeman, Tally’s personal finance expert. “But that convenience can also put people into serious debt that’s hard to pay off.”

Cleaning up ‘messy’ finances

By the time he was settled in the States, Marco had amassed nearly $12,000 in credit card debt. That’s when his search for help began.

Marco remembers first learning about Tally on a personal finance blog. He liked the concept, went to the App Store and decided to sign up.

“I didn’t know what type of product I was looking for because I didn’t know what was out there,” he says. “I just knew I wanted to lower the balance on my credit cards. I wanted a better interest rate and automation — that comfort of not having to think about it.”

Most of Marco’s debt was on one credit card in particular. And that’s the one he added to his Tally account. His approach was a combination of Tally and balance transfer cards: Tally handled the high-interest credit cards while he took advantage of the 0% APR promotional rates.

“My finances were pretty messy,” he says, looking back. “I needed help with organization and just wanted to make things more manageable.”

And that’s where Tally stepped in.

“Juggling multiple payments and due dates can be really difficult,” Hardeman says. “Tally makes it easy — all you have to do is pay Tally once a month. Plus, you can absolutely use Tally while also looking for other ways to save, like Marco did with balance transfer cards.

“Our members are really smart,” she adds. “I’m impressed with all of the different ways people come up with to make the most out of Tally.”

At the peak of his credit card debt, Marco says he was checking the Tally app three or four times a month, just to make sure everything was working as planned. He remained patient and told himself things would work out eventually.

Sure enough, Marco was able to pay off his credit card debt in less than two years.

“Once I got rid of my debt, it just felt like I didn’t have to worry anymore,” he says. “Having that familiarity has helped me feel more relaxed as I move into a new stage of my life. There’s no more uncertainty.”

A new venture on the horizon

Now 30, Marco is still using Tally today, mostly to keep track of payments. He recently added his Target and Amazon cards to his account — “I’m so happy Tally keeps supporting new cards” — and especially enjoys the option of Tally Pays vs. You Pay, which lets him stay involved.

He also knows Tally is always looking out for him.

“Tally recently made a payment to my card that I forgot to pay,” he says. “It was so nice to have that backup. I like to think I’m good about staying on top of my payments, but sometimes life happens.”

These days, Marco and his partner reside in San Diego, Calif. He recently graduated from college and earned a degree in sociology. And now that he has a handle on his debt, Marco is preparing to launch a new business.

“Getting out of debt has allowed me the freedom to explore that as a possibility,” he says. “Without Tally, I don't think I could actually consider it. Tally has helped me move forward, and now I can put some money aside for a new venture.”

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