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Minimum payments: the slow and costly route to debt relief

Minimum payments on credit card balances may seem like a helpful aid in managing debt, but they can actually be a slow and costly route to debt relief. While these payments are designed to be a manageable amount, they often result in accumulating more debt due to high interest rates and extended repayment periods.

Credit card companies require a minimum payment each month, typically a small percentage of the balance owed (around 2-3%). This seems like a reasonable amount to pay, as it’s not a significant portion of the balance. However, credit cards often come with high interest rates that can add up quickly and leave cardholders with a much larger balance than they began with.

For example, let’s say a credit card balance is $2,000 with a 19% annual interest rate. The minimum payment due would be around $40-$60 per month. However, by making only the minimum payment, it would take over 14 years to pay off the balance, and the total interest paid would be almost $3,500. This means the cardholder would pay almost double the amount of the original balance just in interest charges.

Furthermore, because minimum payments are typically smaller in amount, it’s easier for cardholders to spend beyond their means, thinking they can always pay the minimum. This leads to a cycle of debt where balances only continue to grow. It’s a dangerous trap that can leave people in debt for decades.

Instead, paying more than the minimum payment each month can be a significant step in the right direction towards debt relief. Even if it’s just an additional $10-$20 each month, it can make a big difference. By doing so, cardholders can pay off their balances quicker and save money in interest charges.

Another option for debt relief is to consider balance transfers. Credit card companies often offer introductory periods with low or 0% interest rates. Transferring high-interest balances to a new credit card with a lower rate can help save in interest charges and pay off balances quicker.

In conclusion, minimum payments are a slow and costly route to debt relief. The best way to manage credit card debt is to pay more than the minimum payment each month and avoid overspending on credit cards. By doing so, cardholders can take control of their finances and work towards becoming debt-free.

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