How to Get off the  Credit Card Hamster Wheel

Credit card debt just hit an all-time high of $930 BILLION. Millions of Americans are trapped on the hamster wheel.1 🤫

Here are 2 secrets to crushing your credit cards: (read to the end for something you can do about it)

(read to the end for something you can do about it)


hamster wheel


1️⃣  Pay a little more than the minimum.

This may seem obvious but most people don’t understand the critical difference between credit cards and other loans. 🤫The minimum payment is the credit card industry's dirty secret. It's designed to keep you in debt.

Here’s why:

With home or car loans (“term loans”) you pay more & more toward principle over time & there’s a clear schedule for paying off the loan. Credit cards work differently: They only require 1% of principal with each payment so you make *less & less* progress toward paying them off.

Let’s look at the numbers: A typical American with an $8k credit card balance with an APR of 22% making minimum payments will pay… brace yourself… Over $13,000 in interest over 20 years. And that assumes no new charges are added!


If that same customer paid just $100 extra each month toward principal they'd save… …almost $10,000 in interest and pay the debt off 15 years faster. 🤯 Why don't banks encourage this? I think you know the answer.


2️⃣  Get a lower APR.

Do you know your APR? Most people don’t. The APR is the yearly interest rate that you pay on your debt. 🤫

Here’s another dirty secret:


Millions of Americans are paying an APR of 20%, 24%2, or even higher. I met one person who had a $10k balance on a Discover Card with a 33% APR! Small reductions in APR can make a BIG difference—saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Let’s look at the numbers:

In our example of a customer with $8k in debt I assumed a 22% APR, which is pretty typical. Now let’s assume this customer finds a way to get a lower APR of 16% on that debt. They'll immediately save $30-40 a month and thousands more over time. That's real

Millions of people faithfully pay their credit card bill every month but never get a lower rate. Why don’t banks proactively help customers who have proven their credit-worthiness get a lower rate? Again, you know the answer.

Now let’s put it all together. Let’s imagine the same person with an $8k balance (a) pays an extra 0.5% toward the principal balance each month (so 1.5% instead of 1%) and (b) finds an account with a lower APR of 16% instead of 22% The result is a WIN-WIN-WIN:


✅ Lower minimum payments right away because of the lower principal balance
✅ Balance paid off nearly twice as fast because more principal is being paid with each payment
✅ Thousands of dollars in interest savings over the payoff period


This is exactly what we’re building at Swell. If you struggle with credit card debt and want to do something about it please take this survey (it’s confidential):




1.  “Household Debt and Credit Report” Q3 2022.

2.Average Credit Card Interest Rates in America Today” November 21, 2022.