How to take years off your credit card balance by increasing payments by just £1 a day

By reducing the time it'll take you to pay back the debt, you'll also save a lot of money that otherwise would've gone on high interest rates.

A new free repayment calculator by Barclaycard – which is available to both Barclaycard and non-Barclaycard customers – enables people to calculate how long it'll take them to pay off their credit card balance.

It will also tell you how much your borrowing will cost you in interest as well as how repaying a few extra quid each month could save you even more.

For example, for someone with an outstanding balance of £2,500 who's paying £63 each month towards the debt, it would take 26 years and two months to clear the debt.

But if the person increased the repayments by £1 a day (or £30 a month), meaning they'd be repaying £93 a month, it would only take two years and 11 months to pay it all off.

At the same time, they'd also be paying £2,874 less in interest.

'How we repaid £43,000 in four years'

It started when they were young. When one line of credit ran out, they opened another.

Each time the credit card had higher interest and repayments became difficult.

The couple owed up to £43,000 in credit card, loan, catalogue and payday loan debt, as well as council tax and water bills.

Then in 2008, Ricky, 39, who lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent was made redundant from his machine operator job at a printing firm.

A year later Naomi, now 34, also lost her job working in insurance.

In one week the car, washing machine and fridge freezer all broke down and he said it seemed “obvious” to just get another credit card because all the others were maxed out.

He said: “Being in debt just became normal.

“We felt pressure as we realised we were getting trapped into a cycle of debt, but couldn't see a way out.”

Eventually the couple reached breaking point.

Ricky said: “We realised we’d run out of all options, and had no food in the cupboard, it was the moment we knew we had to change the way we were living.”

“It was at that point we decided to take control of our lives and stop living a life of high interest debt.”

“It really wasn’t easy. We cut back on all our outgoings, apart from priority bills, we set up individual payment plans with all the creditors and started to look at ways we could increase our income so we could clear our debts off quicker.”

“We started trying to save, even if it was just £10 a month, so we’d have a little something to fall back on.

“We stopped spending money on random things, and instead looked to get stuff for free from Freecycle.”

It took them four years to become debt-free. In 2013, Ricky set up his blog – Skint Dad– to help inspire others to get back on track financially.

The repayment calculator by Barclaycard is only the latest in a long line of calculator tools to launch in recent years.

The Money Advice Service and uSwitch both offer similar services where you can calculate how long it'll take you to pay off your credit card debt depending on the interest rate and how much you've borrowed.

By increasing the monthly repayment amount in the calculators, you can easily see how much sooner you could be debt free.

It comes as worrying new research has found that nearly half of Brits are hiding a total of £96billion worth of debt from their friends and family.

Here's how to get out of debt in eight simple steps – and get advice for free.

How to pay off large amounts of debt

  • Personal loans: a type of unsecured loan where you borrow money from a lender, and agree to pay it back over a set period of time in fixed monthly repayments.
  • Balance transfer: part of or all of the debt is transferred from one credit card to another. This usually reduces the amount you pay on interest, but you need to know how to use them properly.
  • Talk to your creditors: you’ll have to explain why you’re in debt, what steps you’re taking to get yourself out of the situation and how much you can afford to pay back. They should try and help you, but if they don’t agree a repayment plan, you could contact a charity like StepChange or Citizens Advice.
  • Free debt advice: there are loads of groups who can help with your problem debts. Citizen Advice – 0808 800 9060. StepChange – 0800 138 1111. National Debtline – 0808 808 4000.
  • Individual voluntary agreement (IVA) and bankruptcy: if you’re unable to pay back debts, you can apply for either of two. They damage your credit score, though, and should therefore only be treated as a last resort.

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