While more purchases these days become cashless, the use of credit cards is continuing to prosper. However, its emergence could become risky without having the proper knowledge about late fees.

Credit cards offer important means when you’re out of budget, which implies it is a lifeline in getting basic needs during this situation. This is proof that it’s best to pay your credit bills on time or else it will cost a borrower a lot of trouble, more importantly, money.

There are plenty of ways to avoid falling into debt but as it is inevitable, we have listed down a few things you can consider to quickly and effectively clear your credit card debt Singapore:

1. Make Regular Loan Repayments and Pay More Than the Minimum Amount

It’s always a good idea to be paying over the minimum on your credit card debt because, primarily, you will save a lot as it allows your account in good standing. Also, this way, a cardholder is able to pay off their balances faster. This results in reducing their credit utilization ratio and even improve their credit scores.

Remember that making only the minimum debt repayment on your account will only keep you trapped in credit card debt for a lot longer. It is best to be mindful of your expenses and balances and repay the overall dues regularly.

2. Repay the Debt With the Highest Interest Rate First

As expected, the longer interest accrues on a cardholder’s balance, the more they will have to repay. Thus, it is likely that you will save a lot if you get rid of high-interest credit card debt as quickly as possible.

Moreover, this strategy targets the interest reduction so that cardholders will end up paying the least amount of interest over the long term. If this is practised, a lot more time and money can be saved.

3. Opt for a Line of Credit

Line of Credit (or LOC) is a preset borrowing limit that can be used at any time. It is an arrangement between a financial institution and a client that establishes the maximum loan amount the customer can borrow. This loan gives you a lower interest rate compared to your card with a much more flexible debt repayment period for a cardholder to clear off their unpaid card debt.

Take note that most lines of credit are also unsecured debt. This means the borrower does not promise the lender any collateral to back the LOC. Unsecured lines of credit tend to come with higher interest rates than secured LOCs. They are also more difficult to obtain which often require a higher credit score or credit report.

Pros:

  • Has lower interest rate than a credit card
  • Has a more flexible debt repayment period
  • Standby cash

Cons:

  • May have higher interest rates than personal loans
  • You are a spendthrift or if you lack discipline. Having access to additional funds that you might not require could tempt you to borrow more than you need. With no fixed debt repayment period, you could even end up snowballing your interest debt by delaying monthly repayment.

Eligibility criteria and how one can apply:

To apply for a credit line, you have to be

  • At least 21 years old
  • Have a minimum annual income of S$30,000 (for Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents). If you earn between S$20,000 – S$29,999, some banks may still offer credit lines, but at a higher prevailing interest rate.

Some credit lines are also only available to Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents.

To make it possible

  • Look for a lender offering a line of credit loan.
  • Apply online or call the institution to process your application. You may avail the plan any time of the day depending on the operational hours of the lender. Staff should be available to speak with you for your inquiries.
  • Select the amount of loan you will be requesting.
  • Await for your approval- which may take a lot while for some banks. Once approved, you can immediately get your cash as you wish.

4. Consider 0% Balance Transfer

This type of credit card charges no interest for a promotional period, normally six months to a year. As what the word suggests, it allows cardholders to transfer all of their other credit card balances over to it. This will easily help you pay off debt faster as more of your payments will go toward the principal balance each month instead of toward interest charges and fees.

Keep in mind to make a disciplined plan to clear any unpaid amount by the end of the promotional duration because any remaining balance after it is subject to a regular credit card interest rate of 25.9%. Prior to choosing a balance transfer, remember that you’d also need to calculate if the interest you save over time will cover the cost of the fee.

Pros:

  • Has a 0% promotional interest rate
  • Higher chances of eligibility as the loan is on a credit card application

Cons:

  • May have a processing fee or charge
  • Has shorter repayment periods
  • High interest debt occurs quickly after the promotional period finishes. If you want to avoid this, make a plan to pay off your credit card balance during the no-interest intro period.

Here’s who is eligible and how one can apply:

To apply for a balance transfer, you have to be

  • At least 21 years old
  • A Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident: minimum annual income of S$30,000
  • For foreigners: minimum annual income of S$42,000. Some banks also require you to hold a Singapore Employment Pass.
  • You might be required to own a credit card or bank account with the bank that you are applying for the balance transfer.

Remember that some balance transfers are only available to Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents.

To make it possible

  • Choose the right or ideal balance transfer card for you and apply. This can normally be done online.
  • Fill out the necessary information and await for confirmation or approval for the balance transfer card.

5. Consolidate Your Debt With a Personal Loan

This deal is a form of credit that can aid you in making a big purchase or consolidate high-interest debts. Because personal loans typically have lower interest rates than credit cards, they can be used to consolidate multiple credit card debts into a single, lower-cost monthly payment.

You may use an unsecured personal loan to consolidate credit cards or other types of debt. This can give you a lower interest rate on your debt and a fixed repayment period (12 to even 84 months) to clear off your debt.

Pros:

  • Fixed interest rate and monthly repayment
  • Fixed payment period

Cons:

  • Only customers with excellent credit, higher incomes or loan amounts get to enjoy the lowest rates
  • This package may carry processing charges and fees

With Fortune Credit, you can enjoy applying for a personal loan, with the lowest rates, may it be for your home renovation, medical bills or even a vacation. Rates could only range from 1 to 4% only, with flexible payment terms. For its unsecured loan, it’s guaranteed that borrower does not need to provide collateral or pledging of assets. They can also borrow nearly up to six times your monthly income.

To avail, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Has a minimum salary of SGD $1,500 for locals and PRs
  • Has a minimum salary of SGD $2,000 for foreigners

To apply, they must

  1. Present
    • An identity card
    • Proof of residence (utility bill, a letter addressed to you, and or tenancy agreement)
    • Proof of employment (employment letter if your job is less than 3 months)
    • Recent 3 months payslip
    • SingPass (to log into CPF, HDB, IRAS website)
  1. Call or apply online.
  1. Visit the office for an in-person consultation wherein terms and conditions will be discussed.
  1. Receive your cash within the same day.

6. Discuss Your Options With Your Bank

You can always try approaching your creditors directly to make an appeal for an affordable instalment repayment plan. By then, you will have to explain your financial situation and propose a repayment plan that you can afford. Reach your creditors directly by putting up a written appeal.

By submitting one, you can explain your financial situation and propose a repayment plan that you can afford. It is important to include relevant supporting documents such as monthly income and CPF statements in the written appeal.

As a guide, remember that:

1. Self-administration may be suitable if you have debts owing to one or a few creditors.

2. You need to be able to articulate and explain your financial situation.

3. You also need to be able to speak with your creditors to discuss or negotiate the repayment terms, such as monthly payment amount.

  • Should you be able to lump sum money, consider approaching your creditors to offer a discounted settlement of your debt.

This strategy may be ideal if you are able to raise a lump sum either through:

1. The sale of assets, such as shares or properties, or

2. Taking a low-interest loan from a non-bank institution such as a credit co-operative society or a company loan.

  • If all things fail, resort into seeking financial counselling. This practice does not have to be expensive and you can even receive free help for managing your debts! There is a Debt Management Programme (DMP) that is facilitated by Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS) for borrowers who are in genuine financial distress and unable to make payments for unsecured debts owing to banks and licensed moneylenders.

During a financial counselling session, counsellors will assess the borrower’s payment capacity to make monthly instalment payments within his/her payment capacity to settle the debts to all creditors in full within 10 years.

The Bottom Line

There could be a bunch of ways a cardholder can think of whenever falling into debt. Although it’s best to avoid making it happen by being keen on expenses, rest assured, there are still solutions to keep in mind when things get tough.

There’s a line of credit and the balance transfer which features low interests. And on the other hand, personal loan for a debt consolidation plan DCP with fixed rates and repayment. Remember that this approach is one of the most convenient ways to clear your balances, especially with Fortune Credit, where you’ll get to enjoy the best loan features in Singapore.