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Facing a large amount of credit card debt can feel overwhelming, especially since it might take a while to pay off. If you have $10,000 in credit card debt, it could take over a decade to repay if you make only minimum payments.
However, there are a few strategies that could make it easier to pay off $10,000 in credit card debt.
Here are four ways to pay off $10,000 in credit card debt:
- Consolidate your debt
- Work with your credit card company
- Choose a debt payoff strategy
- Reevaluate your current spending
1. Consolidate your debt
Depending on your credit, consolidating your credit card debt might get you a lower interest rate — this could save you money on interest as well as potentially help you pay off your debt more quickly.
Here are a few options for consolidating credit card debt:
Take out a credit card consolidation loan
Best if: You have multiple high-interest credit cards to consolidate.
A credit card consolidation loan is a type of personal loan specifically used to consolidate credit card debt. If you have good to excellent credit, you might qualify for a lower interest rate than what you’re currently paying — this could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on interest charges.
Or you could opt to extend your repayment term to lower your monthly payments and lessen the strain on your budget. Just keep in mind that choosing a longer term means you’ll pay more in interest over time.
For example, here’s how much someone might save by consolidating their credit card debt with a personal loan:
Here are some pros and cons to consider when contemplating credit card debt with a personal loan:
- Fixed rates: Personal loan rates are fixed, which means your payments will stay the same throughout the life of the loan. Additionally, personal loans usually have lower interest rates compared to credit cards.
- Could get a lower interest rate: If you have good credit, you might get a lower interest rate with a credit card consolidation loan.
- Fast loan process: Many personal loan lenders provide a quick and easy application process. If you’re approved, you’ll generally have your funds within a week — though some lenders will fund loans as soon as the same or next business day after approval.
- Fewer options for poor or fair credit: You’ll typically need good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan — especially if you want to get a lower interest rate. There are also several lenders that offer personal loans for bad credit, but these loans usually come with higher interest rates compared to good credit loans.
- Might come with fees: Some lenders charge fees on personal loans, such as origination or late fees.
- No perks or rewards: Personal loans don’t offer the perks and rewards that sometimes come with credit cards.
If you decide to take out a personal loan to consolidate credit card debt, be sure to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for your needs.
Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders in the table below in two minutes.
|Lender||Fixed rates||Loan amounts||Min. credit score||Loan terms (years)||Check rates|
|7.99% - 29.99% APR||$10,000 to $35,000||Not disclosed by lender||2, 3, 4, 5|
|9.95% - 35.99% APR||$2,000 to $35,000**||550||2, 3, 4, 5*|
|11.79% - 20.84% APR||$10,000 to $50,000||730||3, 4, 5, 6|
|8.99% - 35.99% APR||$2,000 to $50,000||600||3, 5|
|7.99% - 24.99% APR||$2,500 to $40,000||660||3, 4, 5, 6, 7|
|11.72% - 24.67% APR||$5,000 to $40,000||640||2, 3, 4, 5|
|9.57% - 35.99% APR||$1,000 to $40,000||660||3, 5|
|7.99% - 35.99% APR||$2,000 to $36,500||660||2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|7.49% - 25.49% APR with autopay||$5,000 to $100,000||700||2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 |
(up to 12 years for home improvement loans)
|18.0% - 35.99% APR||$1,500 to $20,000||None||2, 3, 4, 5|
|8.49% - 17.99% APR||$600 to $50,000 |
(depending on loan term)
|700||1, 2, 3, 4, 5|
|6.99% - 35.99% APR||$2,000 to $50,000||640||2, 3, 4, 5|
|8.99% - 25.81% APR10||$5,000 to $100,000||Does not disclose||2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7|
|11.69% - 35.99% APR7||$1,000 to $20,000||560||3, 5|
|8.49% - 35.99% APR||$1,000 to $50,000||600||2, 3, 5, 6|
|6.4% - 35.99% APR4||$1,000 to $50,0005||620||3 or 5 years4|
Use a balance transfer card
Best if: You plan to pay off your balance quickly.
Another option for consolidating credit card debt is a balance transfer. This process lets you move your balance from one credit card to another.
Some balance transfer cards come with a 0% APR introductory offer, which means you could avoid paying interest if you can repay your debt before this period ends — usually within nine to 21 months, depending on the card.
However, if you can’t pay off your debt in time, you could stick with some hefty interest charges.
- 0% APR offer: Depending on the card you choose, you might be able to take advantage of a 0% APR introductory period and avoid paying interest for a certain period of time. This could be especially helpful if you plan to repay your balance quickly.
- Could help establish credit history: If you keep the balance transfer card open after paying off your initial debt, you can continue to use it to build your positive payment history and improve your credit.
- Might offer rewards or other perks: Some balance transfer cards provide various rewards or perks, such as cash back or travel points.
- Might come with fees: In many cases, you’ll have to pay a balance transfer fee. This can range from 3% to 5% of the balance you want to transfer.
- Could come with high interest charges: If you don’t choose a card with a 0% APR introductory offer or can’t pay off your balance before this period ends, you could end up paying a large amount of interest.
- Might lead to further debt: Although a balance transfer card could help you manage your debt, it’s still another credit card — for some borrowers, it might be tempting to rack up a balance again.
Tap into your home’s equity
Best if: You own a home with at least 15% to 20% equity.
- With a home equity loan, you’ll get a lump sum that you can use how you wish.
- With a HELOC, you’ll have access to a revolving credit line that you can repeatedly draw on and pay off.
Because these loans are secured by your home, they often come with lower interest rates compared to credit cards or personal loans.
However, keep in mind that if you can’t keep up with your payments, you risk losing your house.
- Lower interest rates: Because there’s less risk to the lender, home equity loans and HELOCs tend to have lower interest rates than credit cards or personal loans.
- Long repayment term: You could have five to 30 years to repay a home equity loan or up to 20 years to pay off a HELOC.
- Can use funds for any purpose: You can use the funds from a home equity loan or HELOC for almost any purpose. This could be helpful if you have other expenses to cover in addition to your credit card debt.
- Risk of foreclosure: If you can’t make your payments on a home equity loan or HELOC, the lender could seize your home.
- Closing costs: Home equity loans and HELOCs can come with similar closing costs as a traditional mortgage — often 2% to 5%.
- Longer process: Depending on the complexity of the loan, it could take a few weeks for your loan to be processed and funded.
2. Work with your credit card company
In some cases, you might be able to work out an arrangement with your credit card company that could help you tackle your debt. Here are a few options to consider:
Ask your credit card company about a hardship plan
Best if: Your account is in good standing.
If your credit card payments are becoming too difficult to manage, it’s a good idea to call your card company to see if any assistance is available to you.
For example, several credit card companies offer hardship plans, which often provide a lower interest rate, reduced monthly payments, and lower fees.
Generally, credit card companies prefer to work with long-time customers who haven’t missed any payments. If you think you might not be able to make a payment, be sure to reach out to your card issuer as soon as possible.
- Could lower your interest rate: A hardship plan could temporarily provide more optimal terms, such as a lower interest rate.
- Fixed repayment: Hardship plans usually come with fixed repayment schedules, which could make it easier to budget for your payments.
- Maintain good standing: If you reach out to your credit card company before you miss any payments, you’ll have a better chance of keeping your account in good standing with the company.
- Might hurt your credit: Your card issuer might suspend or close your account for the duration of the hardship plan, which could lead to a decrease in your credit score.
- Could make it hard to access more credit: If your card issuer reports your hardship plan to the credit bureaus, you might have a harder time qualifying for other loans and credit in the future.
- Can’t combine multiple cards: If you have debt on multiple credit cards and want to sign up for a hardship plan, you’ll need to contact each card issuer individually.
Try to negotiate a debt settlement
Best if: You have a sum of cash that you can use to negotiate a settlement for less than what you owe.
Debt settlement is an arrangement where your credit card company agrees to accept a lump sum or number of payments for less than what you owe in order to settle the account.
You can approach your creditor to discuss settlement on your own, or you could involve one of the several for-profit companies that offer debt settlement services.
- Might be able to pay off your debt for less than what you owe: If your card issuer accepts the debt settlement plan, you could pay off your debt for less than what you actually owe.
- Can be done on your own: While there are several companies that could help you pursue debt settlement, you also have the option to work with your card issuer on your own.
- Could help you avoid bankruptcy: If you don’t want to file for bankruptcy, debt settlement might be a helpful option.
- Could damage your credit: Your credit report will reflect that you settled an account for less than what you owed, which could hurt your credit. Your credit could also be damaged if you work with a for-profit company and agree to stop making payments.
- Potential fees: Debt settlement companies usually charge a fee for their services ranging from 20% to 25% of your final settlement amount.
- Might not work: There’s no guarantee that your card issuer will accept the settlement offer.
Check Out: How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt
Consider a debt management plan
Best if: You want professional guidance on the best way to repay your debt.
If you’re not sure how to tackle your debt, signing up for a debt management plan might be a good idea. With this option, a nonprofit debt counseling agency — such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling — will help you come to an agreement with your creditors.
Debt management plans typically last for three to five years until your debt is paid off. During this time, you’ll make your payments to the agency, which will send the agreed-upon amounts to your creditors.
- Professional help to manage your debt: Credit counselors offer a variety of resources and educational tools to help you take control of your debt and create good credit habits.
- Might come with lower interest rate and fees: Your creditors might agree to lower your interest rates and reduce or waive fees if you sign up for a debt management plan.
- Could improve your credit score: Making on-time payments under a debt management plan could help you build a positive payment history and improve your credit score over time.
- Might close your credit cards: Any credit cards included in a debt management plan will likely have to be closed, meaning you’ll have less access to credit. Additionally, you might not be permitted to apply for new credit for the duration of the plan.
- Could come with fees: Depending on the agency you choose, you might have to pay upfront and monthly fees.
- Will have to pay off your debt in full: Unlike with a debt settlement, you’ll have to pay off your full balance on a debt management plan.
You can estimate how much you’ll pay for a loan using our personal loan calculator below.
Enter your loan information to calculate how much you could pay
With a $ loan, you will pay $ monthly and a total of $ in interest over the life of your loan. You will pay a total of $ over the life of the loan.
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3. Choose a debt payoff strategy
If you have multiple cards to pay off, choosing a debt payoff strategy could be helpful. Here are a couple of methods to consider:
Use the debt avalanche method
Best if: You’re motivated by long-term interest savings.
With the debt avalanche method, you’ll focus on paying off your debt with the highest interest rate first.
Here’s how it works:
- Could save money on interest: Paying down your highest-interest debt first could help you reduce your overall interest charges.
- Might get out of debt faster: Saving money on interest might help you pay off your debt ahead of schedule.
- Could take longer to see results: While paying down your highest-interest debt might help you save money on interest, it could take a while to see any significant results.
- Might be hard to sustain motivation: If you need to enjoy small wins to maintain motivation, you might have a hard time sticking to the debt avalanche method.
Learn More: How to Consolidate Bills Into One Payment
Use the debt snowball method
Best if: You’re motivated by small wins.
If you choose the debt snowball method, you’ll concentrate on repaying your smallest debt first. Here’s how it works:
- Faster results: You’ll likely see quicker results with the debt snowball method compared to the debt avalanche.
- Could help maintain motivation: Because you’ll be paying off balances sooner with the debt snowball, it could be easier to stay motivated.
- Won’t save as much on interest: The debt snowball method generally doesn’t offer the same amount of interest savings as the debt avalanche.
- Could take longer: Because you won’t be saving much money on interest, it will likely take longer to fully repay your debt using the debt snowball method.
Automate your payments
One way to simplify the debt repayment process is to set up automatic payments — also known as autopay — for your bills. With autopay, you don’t have to worry about remembering to pay your bills on time, which helps you avoid costly late fees and missed payments. You may even be able to get a discount from lenders for using autopay — many student loan and personal loan lenders offer this perk.
In addition to automating your payments, it’s a good idea to switch to paperless statements to receive email reminders about due dates or sign up for text notifications about your bill payments. This can help you budget for expenses throughout the month, since you’ll know exactly when money will be taken out of your account.
4. Reevaluate your current spending
Establishing a financial plan that prioritizes paying off debt could also help you tackle a $10,000 credit card balance. Here are a few strategies that could help:
Create (or update) your budget
Creating a budget is a good way to keep track of your income as well as your expenses. It can also help you plan for your financial goals — such as paying off your credit card debt.
Cut out the non-essentials
As you list out your monthly expenses, consider what you might be able to cut. For example, maybe you could unsubscribe from a streaming service you hardly use. Or you might start cooking at home to save money on dining out.
Sell your stuff
Many of us have unused items lying around the house that could be sold for extra cash. For example, you might consider selling electronics, furniture, or books.
Find a side hustle
After reviewing your budget, you might find that you don’t have much extra cash to put toward debt. In this case, you might think about starting a side hustle to earn more money.
Frequently asked questions
Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions about paying off credit card debt:
How long will it take me to pay off $10K in credit card debt?
The time it’ll take to repay a $10,000 loan will depend on two factors:
- Annual percentage rate (APR): With a higher APR (your interest rate plus any fees), less of your monthly payment goes toward repaying the debt itself. More of your money goes toward the interest, which is an added cost on top of what you owe. When you have a lower interest rate, more of your monthly payment goes toward repaying your debt. This means it takes less time to pay off a debt when you have a lower interest rate.
- Monthly payment: Making the minimum payment on your credit card debt will lead to a much longer payoff period than making the full monthly payment. Even a slight increase in your monthly payment from the minimum can drastically speed up repayment.
For example: Say you have $10,000 in credit card debt with an 18% APR and a $50 minimum payment. If you make the minimum payment, it would take you over 30 years to repay your debt, and you’d pay $24,656 in interest.
If you increase your monthly payment to $100, you’d repay the debt in just over 19 years and pay $19,311 in interest. But for a debt this size, it’s ideal to pay at least $250 a month. This way, you’d pay off your debt in a little over five years, and pay $5,386. in interest.
Is it smart to pay off one credit card with another?
You typically can’t use a credit card to make payments on another card. However, you can move your balance from one card to another with a balance transfer.
If you can qualify for a balance transfer card with a 0% APR introductory offer and can repay your balance before this period ends, then it could be a good way to save money on interest. But if you wouldn’t be able to pay off the card in time, you might be better off keeping your balances where they are.
Is it bad to have $10K in credit card debt?
While a large amount of debt is never ideal, sometimes it can be unavoidable. Whether or not you have too much credit card debt depends on a couple of factors:
- Monthly income: Having monthly debt payments that take up a large portion of your income can make debt unmanageable and saving for other goals impossible. It’s generally advised that monthly debt payments in total take up no more than 36% of your monthly income.
- Credit utilization: One of the major components of your credit score is your credit utilization ratio — the amount you owe on revolving credit lines (like credit cards) compared to your total credit limits. Using a high percentage of your available credit could have a negative impact on your credit. It’s typically a good idea to keep your credit utilization ratio under 30%.
If you decide to take out a personal loan to consolidate your credit card debt, remember to consider as many lenders as you can to find the right loan for you.
This is easy with Credible: You can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes — without affecting your credit.
Should I consider bankruptcy for my $10,000 credit card debt?
Bankruptcy should be a last resort. A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can have a very negative effect on your credit for seven to 10 years. This can make it challenging to take out a loan or get approved for an apartment rental. There are also criteria you must meet in order to qualify, so you may not even be eligible for it.
Additionally, if you only have credit card debt (and not student loan debt or a mortgage), filing for bankruptcy may not make sense. This option is typically better suited for individuals with different types of debt, since you must list all of them when filing for bankruptcy.
If you have $10,000 in credit card debt, consider the other options in this article before filing for bankruptcy.