Paying off debt is usually much harder than accumulating it. But too much debt to your name could make it difficult to accomplish your goals, whether that’s buying a house, getting married or simply keeping up with all your other bills.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there that can help. All you need is a smartphone and 99 cents (or less) to try out one of these debt payoff apps and finally make some progress.
The ChangEd app is like Acorns for your student loan debt. After you sync your bank account, the app analyzes your spending and rounds up purchases to the next dollar, then deposits the difference ― your “change” ― into an FDIC-insured account. Once the account reaches $100, ChangEd applies that in payment toward your student loans.
Don’t think $100 here and there will make much of a difference? Say you have a $10,000 student loan at 5 percent interest and 10 years to pay it off. Your monthly payment would be $106 and you’d pay an extra $2,728 in interest charges. But by making just one extra payment of $100, you’d pay off your loan one month faster and knock off $65 in interest.
2. Credit Card Payoff
The average American household with credit card debt carries a balance of $15,482, according to an analysis by NerdWallet. If that includes you, this debt repayment app is a great tool for making a plan to pay it off.
The Credit Card Payoff app allows you to set a time-based goal for paying off your credit card debt and then shows you how much you’d need to pay monthly to reach it.
Want to see how much interest you could save by paying the balance off sooner? Curious how much faster you’ll be debt-free if you add another $50 to your payments? The app has easy-to-read charts that let you compare various plans to figure out which one will work best for you.
3. Debt Free
- Availability: iPhone
- Cost: $0.99
The Debt Free app focuses on using the debt snowball strategy to pay off your debt. This method involves paying down the debt with the smallest balance aggressively, while making the minimum payments on the rest. Once that debt is paid off, you take the money you applied to the first debt and roll it into paying off the next-highest balance, creating a snowball effect. This repayment method is effective for people who are motivated by experiencing wins right away.
However, you can opt for other repayment methods as well, such as starting with the highest interest rate, highest balance or a different order you create. You can also compare different strategies to see how each will affect the total interest paid and the amount of time until the debt is eliminated. Debt Free also offers a few helpful calculators, an amortization table detailing the principal, interest and remaining balance associated with each payment, as well as payment notifications.
4. Debt Payoff Assistant
- Availability: iPhone
- Cost: Free, or $0.99 for the ad-free Debt Payoff Pro version
The Debt Payoff Assistant app also focuses on the debt snowball method, though you can choose a different strategy if you prefer, such as targeting the highest balances or highest interest rates, or a customized plan created by you. The app also lets you input an unlimited number of debts, including credit cards, student loans, auto loans and more.
The Debt Payoff Assistant will track your payoff efforts and show you a progress bar for each debt. You can drill down into various stats related to your debts, such as total debt, debts remaining, total interest paid, total interest saved, debt payoff date and debt payoff time savings, which the app displays in visually appealing charts and reports. It also lets you track extra payments and reminds you when payments are due.
Mint is a surprisingly robust budgeting app considering that it’s free to use. And though there are mobile apps available for both iPhone and Android, the best features are available via the desktop platform.
In addition to providing detailed spending breakdowns and customizable budgets, you can take advantage of the “Goals” feature to help you stay on track while paying off your debt.
To get started, choose a goal from the list, such as “Pay off credit card debt” or “Pay off loans.” Mint will ask you to choose which of your accounts you’d like to associate with your goal; if you haven’t synced your accounts yet, now’s the time to do it.
Next, Mint will calculate how much you need to save each month in order to reach your goal, which can either be a desired end date or monthly amount. Once you save your goal, Mint will track your progress. You can take advantage of the budgeting tools to find ways to allocate more money toward your goal.
Tally is another credit card payoff app, but with a twist. It’s designed for people with high-interest credit card debt who struggle to pay off the balances each month and need help figuring out the most efficient way to pay down their debts.
Tally is an automated debt manager. The app extends you a line of credit, which it then uses to make payments toward your highest-interest debt while paying the minimums on the rest. You no longer make payments directly to your card issuers. Instead, you pay back the Tally credit line, which should be lower-interest than your credit card debt. Tally promises you’ll never have a late credit card payment and you’ll save money on interest overall.
To qualify for this service, you need a FICO credit score of at least 660 and meet additional eligibility requirements. The good news is Tally runs a soft credit check to determine your eligibility, so your credit score won’t be affected by applying or signing up for the app.