Before you get started paying off your credit card debt, you need to have an accurate picture of the debt you’re about to tackle. Fortunately, it’s pretty simple to figure out how much credit card debt you owe.
Review Your Credit Card Statements
Your credit card statements are the best place to get the current details about your credit card, including your balance and minimum payment. Grab copies of your most recent mailed statements or log in to your online account to get your most recent account details.
Checking your credit card account online or via a smartphone app will allow you to find your most recent balance, including any transactions or payments applied after your last billing statement was printed.
Add Up Your Credit Card Debt
For each credit card, gather a few pieces of information:
- The name of the credit card
- Account balance
- Credit limit
- Interest rate
- Minimum payment
You’ll need all this information later if you decide to work out a pay-off plan.
We’ve created a Google Sheets spreadsheet (The Balance’s Credit Card Debt Worksheet) to help you collect your credit card details and do the math. In addition to summing up debt totals for any cards added to the list, the spreadsheet calculates credit utilization ratio, an important factor in credit scoring.
Enter all this information into our worksheet (or you can use your own spreadsheet, an app, a notebook, or even just a sheet of paper) and total your credit card balances. Having a clear idea of the total amount of credit card debt you owe keeps your debt in perspective and allows you to track your progress toward paying your overall debt balance.
What’s more, if you’ve been avoiding dealing with your debt, or your money in general, taking this action is an important step toward building healthier money habits. Whether or not you continue with the plan, this one simple task will bring you a lot more understanding of your financial situation.
Optional: Pull Your Credit Report
While this is not strictly necessary, now would also be a good time to consult your credit report(s). Your credit reports will include all the accounts you owe on, including your mortgage, auto loan, student loans, and any collection accounts. You can skip those for now since we’re just focusing on paying off credit card debt.
Free copies of your credit report are available from each of the major credit bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com. The balances on your credit reports may be out of date, so stick with the information from your most recent statements.
Next Steps and More Resources
Once you’ve figured out the amount of debt you owe, the next step is calculating the amount of debt you can reasonably afford based on your income. Discovering the amount of debt that makes sense for your income can help you better understand some of the financial challenges you’re experiencing. It’ll also tell you how much money you can devote to paying down your debt.
In the meantime, here’s a little more about discovering how much debt you owe besides credit card debt:
- Delinquent credit card accounts are “charged off,” which means the creditor doesn’t think it’ll get all of its money back. If this happens, you may be wondering: Do you have to pay a credit card charge-off?
- Really old debt may not factor into your credit score, but it’s still out there. Find out what happens to debt after seven years.
- If you have old, charged-off debt that’s been purchased by a collection agency, you can find out which collection agency you owe.