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How long will it take to pay off $30,000 in credit card debt?

credit card and money, credit card putted on dollars.
It can take many years, and a lot of money in interest, to pay off a $30,000 credit card debt. Getty Images

Carrying around a heavy burden of credit card debt can feel suffocating, especially in the current economic climate. After all, the ongoing inflationary issues we're facing have led the Federal Reserve to keep rates paused at a 23-year high, meaning that annual percentage rates (APRs) on credit cards are much higher than they were just a few years ago. In fact, the average credit card APR is currently 21.59%, according to Federal Reserve data

With credit card rates that high, every missed or minimum payment you make causes compounding interest charges to spiral. In turn, digging your way out of a high card balance requires persistence — and in many cases, it also requires you to utilize strategies beyond just making standard payments. 

That compounding credit card interest means that it can also take a lot of time to pay off what you owe, whether your balance is $5,000 or $50,000. But how long will it take to pay off $30,000 in credit card debt at today's average rate? Let's find out. 

Find out how a debt relief company can help you tackle what you owe

How long will it take to pay off $30,000 in credit card debt?

Let's look at some payoff scenarios for $30,000 in credit card debt at 21.59% interest:

The minimum payment approach

If you only make the minimum payment each month, it will take about 460 months, or about 38 years, to pay off that $30,000 balance. And, you'll pay a staggering $54,359.80 in interest charges along the way, which means the interest you pay will be well above the original principal balance you started with.

Paying 2.5% of the balance (with interest)

If you opt to pay 2.5% of the balance each month on a $30,000 credit card bill, it will take 658 months, or about 55 years, to pay off your balance. And, you'll pay $81,340.93 in total interest charges over that time, which is about 2.5 times the amount of your original balance.

Paying 5.0% of the balance (with interest)

If you're able to pay about 5% of the balance each month on a $30,000 credit card bill, it will take 169 months, or about 14 years, to pay off your balance. You'll also pay $17,271.80 in total interest charges over the 14-year time frame.

Learn more about what your top debt relief options are now.

How to pay off $30,000 in credit card debt quickly

The more you can dedicate monthly to paying down your credit card balances, the faster you'll get out of debt and the less you'll pay in interest charges over the long run. Of course, committing to payments of thousands of dollars per month may not be feasible for everyone's budget. 

So what other options can help expedite getting out from under $30,000 in credit card debt? Here are some potential strategies to consider:

Use a debt consolidation loan

With a debt consolidation loan, you take out a new fixed-rate loan to pay off all your credit card balances. This consolidates multiple payments into one, ideally at a lower interest rate than you were paying on credit cards. For example, a 5-year, $30,000 loan at 10% interest would have a monthly payment of about $637 and you'd pay about $8,245 in total interest.

Enroll in a debt consolidation program

Similar to a debt consolidation loan, a debt consolidation program consolidates your debts with a lower-rate loan. These loans and programs are typically offered by debt relief companies and can be a smart way to pay off large card balances, but you'll typically need a high credit score and a solid borrower profile to qualify.

Take advantage of a debt management plan

With a debt management plan through a debt relief agency, the experts at the company will try to negotiate lower interest rates and fees with your creditors on your behalf. You then make a single payment to the debt relief agency, which disperses funds to your creditors. 

Opt for debt settlement

A debt settlement program aims to negotiate lump sum payoffs for less than the full balance owed through professional negotiation. These programs are typically offered by debt relief companies and can make it easier and faster to pay off high balances on your credit card. However, this option requires you to show financial hardship and can damage your credit score. The settled debt is also considered taxable income.

Use a balance transfer card

Some borrowers may qualify for a 0% or low APR balance transfer credit card promotion, which allows you to transfer your credit card balances and avoid interest for a specific period of time. This lets you aggressively pay down principal balances without the extra interest charges.

The bottom line

If you're just paying the minimum on a $30,000 credit card balance each month, it can take many years to pay off what you owe — and at today's average credit card rate, the interest charges can easily outweigh the original balance. Ultimately, the key to paying off high-balance credit card debt as quickly as possible is consistently paying more than the minimum due each month and potentially utilizing strategies to reduce the interest rates being charged. After all, the faster that balance can be paid down, the less you'll pay in total interest.

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