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By Ashleigh, K-Staff
The holidays are spending season for most Americans, and the pandemic hasn’t changed that for the most part. In 2019, the average gift-buyer in the United States spend just under $1,000 for gifts, decorations, food, travel and other holiday expenses, according to The Ascent research. Considering that in 2020 the average shopper planned to spend $998 on holiday purchases, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the pandemic hasn’t dampened holiday buying behaviors.
If you packed that spending onto a credit card (or several), the first priority in 2021 may be managing that debt. One tool for managing debts is consolidation—combining several debts into one balance with one monthly payment. This won’t lower your debt necessarily but having one payment instead of several could help you manage it.
There are many options out there for debt consolidation. Two of the most popular, balance transfer and a personal loan, both have benefits and considerations. Which is right for you? Well, let’s take a look.
A balance transfer is the transferring of debt from one credit card to another, usually with a promotional rate on that transferred balance.
Some cards will offer a 0% rate on the transferred balance for a certain period of time. If you pay off the debt in that time, you will incur no further interest charges. However, if you aren’t planning on paying off the balance during the promotional period, the regular interest rate may make the switch less attractive. Additionally, it’s not unusual for cards to charge a balance transfer fee—up to 5% of the transferred balance in some cases—or carry an annual fee.
It depends on a lot of factors. One of the key features of a personal loan is the interest rate. There is no introductory period and, according to CreditKarma.com, rates range between 5.99% and 35.99% APR* on average. Some personal loans will require an origination fee as well.
If the rate on your personal loan is lower than you can get on a credit card and you aren’t able to pay off the balance before the promotional period ends and a significantly higher rate kicks in, it’s worth exploring your options.
Here’s a quick comparison at the difference in the two options (source: CreditKarma.com).
|Balance Transfer Credit Cards||Personal Loans (Installment Unsecured)|
|Fees||Balance transfer fee of 0%, 3% or 5% of the amount transferred||Origination fee of 0% to 8% of the loan amount|
|Credit limit or loan amount||$300 to $15,000+||$1,000 to $100,000|
|Interest rate||Potential introductory balance transfer APR during a set period of time, then a regular balance transfer APR that’s variable and subject to change as the prime rate changes||5.99% to 35.99% APR
See current Kirtland FCU rates.
A balance transfer is a great way to lower the number of payments you have each month and reduce the amount of interest you’re paying on those high-balance credit cards.
Ready to take advantage of Kirtland FCU’s balance transfer with the Independence Credit Card? Get started today!