Balance transfer vs personal loan to pay down debt

51 years old and currently owe 19k on two credit cards (7k and 12K) that I am trying to pay down after a divorce. After my mortgage, bills, and helping raise my granddaughter I have only been able to pay the minimum payment ($200 and $260 a month) that basically is just paying the interest and getting me nowhere. I owe approx $1000 on my car that will be paid off soon so that will be an extra $220 a month i can apply towards it. Looking at a balance transfer/personal loan to get the interest down to 0 or lower than it is currently so I can work away at the principle. I have a 794 credit rating so that should help me get approved but want to know what is my best option. I have been told if I apply for a new credit card w/ balance transfer they might only approve say, 5k, and that will leave the other 14k still at the high interest amount. The personal loan would be for the full 19k but im not sure how how much the fees are for a personal loan and pros and cons. Anyone have any advice on what route I should take? I feel if I could get the interest rate down I could make some real progress. Thanks in advance

Consider a third option of contacting a local National Foundation for Credit Counseling agency at They have negotiated reduced interest rates with national credit card providers and the fees of NFCC agencies are low. You can read about the NFCC on the Clark website and at Investopedia and nerdwallet.
I do not understand how can your credit score be 794 with 19,000 in credit card debt.

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Thank you, i will look into this and have been thinking about reaching out to the two credit cards to try and get a lower rate before doing any type of transfer. As far as my credit score, until my divorce I have not had debt in years. I make a decent living on paper but am paying the mortgage, power, water etc with one income now and am helping take care of my daughter and granddaughter currently for justifiable reasons. In all, it is somewhat new to me to have credit card debt and want it in the past asap.

Hi @mxs8106 ! Welcome to the Community.

I’m Nick – I write about credit cards for

I spoke with Clark about the topic of credit card debt elimination for this article, which I’m hoping you may find helpful.

We generally advise drawing up a payoff game plan on paper so that you see the map to being debt free. Having an “end date” in sight will help you stick with it as you see the progress.

With your credit score, a good balance transfer credit card could be an option. I have assessed the market for some of the better ones. You can read that article here. And if you decide a balance transfer card is right for you, I have a guide for completing the balance transfer process the right way here.

Lastly, if you need some additional personalized help with this situation, I’d like to point out a free service that Clark offers: The Consumer Action Center.

The Consumer Action Center is a free service available Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. You can call 636-492-5275 and a volunteer will help you as soon as possible.

I hope this information helps. Have a great day!


Personal loans can have loan origination fees and perhaps early termination fees.
For your long term debt management how can you and your daughter free up more than $220/month toward debt repayment? The best approach is to record every penny spent and then examine each expense category for possible reductions in expenses. Is moving to a smaller home an option?