Skip to main content
No. of Recommendations: 1
Per your earlier message - Don't involve your home others may differ on this, but until you have verifiably stopped digging a credit hole, for an extended period of time (like years) you should not even begin to consider a HELOC or cash out refi. No one can take your house if you stop paying a credit cards. Unsecured personal loans may be available from your bank or credit union, but should be considered only if you have stopped digging.

The simplest way is to make those calls to see which cards might lower their rates.

Regarding the balance transfers, I suggest the following:
divide the current interest rate on a card by 12 (18%/12 months = 1.5%/month). Divide the balance transfer charge by this number. For example: 5% by 1.5%/months = 3.3 months For a 0% balance transfer offer with a 5% charge, you are therefore better off with the balance transfer for any balance you expect to have more more than 3.3 months. Math is a little different if the balance transfer rate is not 0%.

The caveats, as mentioned earlier in this thread, is to make sure:
1. The minimum payments on the balance transfer are still manageable. Not all cards calculate minimum payments the same way. And they can change. Several years back, when we had our debt largely on Chase 0% balance transfers, Chase more than doubled the minimum payment. 0% or not, if you can't afford the minimum payment, its a bad deal.

2. What will the interest rate be when the balance transfer offer ends? If the rate on the card is not similar to or less than the card you are transferring from, its questionable, at best if a balance transfer is a good idea.

I'd suggest a few different things to make a little incremental progress, and suggest carefully evaluating any balance transfer attempts.

for most people, a dollar saved is equivalent to at least $1.50 earned . I know you are already doing beans and rice, rice and beans. But there may be some low hanging fruit you haven't picked yet.

A. - are any of the credit cards points or miles cards? Many times, points/miles can be converted into an account credit. If available, consider doing that. It won't serve as a payment, but can reduce your outstanding balance slightly.

B. - you have car(s) and a home. If you haven't shopped insurance costs within the last 6 months or so, get in touch with an insurance agent or 3 and see if there are good policies available to you at a lower cost than what you are paying.
Print the post  


UGC Disclosure Notice Regarding Credit Card Posts
Community board discussions about credit cards are not provided or commissioned by banks who may have advertising relationships with The Motley Fool. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
TMF Credit Center
The Motley Fool Credit Center arms you with real tools and simple messages, that will help you in every credit situation.
What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.