Got $50,000 in Debt? Here's How to Pay It Off Fast

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If you’re struggling to pay off an overwhelming about of debt, you’re in good company. According to CNBC, the average consumer owes $90,460 in all consumer debts, including credit cards and student loans.

As daunting as it may seem, it’s possible to pay off large amounts of debt starting today.

Debt Calculator: Learn How to Pay Off $50K in Debt

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Key Points

How to Pay Off Large Amounts of Credit Card Debt

Fast Option: DebtHammer

If you have $50,000 or more in debt and don’t have the income to pay it off, the fastest way might be using a company like DebtHammer. They specialize in unsecured debt like credit cards, medical, and personal loan debt, but they can also help with payday loan debt. On average they are able to reduce your monthly payments and stop interest from piling up.

A Fast Way Out of Debt: DebtHammer

Our Top Pick for Help With Debt
  • Can help with many types of debt, including payday and credit card
  • Extremely transparent process, no shadiness
  • Friendly and helpful customer support – no judgment

DebtHammer first checks your eligibility for over 20 loans to see if there is one that can cover your $50k in debt. If you don’t qualify, they can enroll you in a debt resolution program, which lowers your monthly payments and stops interest from piling up. Debt resolution (sometimes called debt settlement) involves having professionals negotiate with your credit card issuers and other creditors to “settle” your debts for less than the total amount you owe. You don’t pay DebtHammer unless they succeed at reducing your debt (but you do make payments into an escrow bank account.

READ MORE: DebtHammer review

Pro tip: Debt settlement sometimes gets a bad rap because your credit score can decrease. However, if you have $50,000 in debt and only make minimum payments, it may be decades before you are debt-free. With a good debt settlement program you could be debt-free in one to five years, depending on your financial situation. The tradeoff may be worth it.

READ MORE: Is debt settlement the fastest way to get out of debt?

Take Control of Your Financial Situation

Becoming debt-free might seem impossible at first. If you owe $50,000 in debt at an average interest rate of 18%, you’d need to pay $1,469 monthly over 48 months to pay it all off. You’d pay $20,500 in interest alone.

However, you can take back control of your financial situation.

Look at your finances objectively. If you have high amounts of credit card debt, you’re probably spending more than you make. So, take a moment to figure out exactly how much money you earn versus how much you spend.

Pro tip: Becoming debt-free requires discipline. If you aren’t prepared to take it seriously and make some sacrifices, your efforts may go to waste. Even though adding up all of your debts can be scary, it’s worth doing so that you can develop a realistic plan.

Stop Applying for New Credit

When your credit cards are maxed out, applying for a new credit card or loan seems like the simplest option. But it won’t solve your problems — and will make them worse as long as you continue to overspend. You need to start a monthly budget and stick to it.

Assess Your Debt

Not all debt is bad debt. For example, student loans could be considered “good” debt if they improve your financial situation over time. Meanwhile, credit card debt is considered bad debt since it causes financial stress and doesn’t provide any long-term benefits.

Whatever debts you have, assess them carefully. Write down each account’s current balance, interest rate, minimum payment due and due date.

Track Your Income and Spending

Only about a third of all Americans have a personal budget. However, a budget is essential to keeping track of your income and expenses.

Creating one is a good idea if you don’t have a budget. Start by totaling up your monthly income. This includes earnings from your regular job, passive income, alimony, etc.

Next, write down all of your monthly payments and expenditures. Include any student loans, credit card debt, auto loans, groceries, utility payments, and all other monthly bills. Add it all up and compare it to your income to know where your money is going.

Next, track your total interest charges. This will help you figure out the best debt repayment strategy later on.

Pro tip: Signing up for a free budgeting app like Mint can make this process easier. Budgeting apps keep track of your income and expenses and can help you achieve any savings or debt payoff goals.

Find a Side Hustle

A side hustle or a second job will boost your income and help you tackle debt faster. Common side hustles include freelance work like writing or video editing, tutoring, selling crafts on Etsy, and listing a spare room on Airbnb. On Airbnb alone, hosts make an extra $500 a month on average. Even a few hundred dollars can shave off months of credit card payments.

Pro tip: If that’s not enough, consider getting a roommate to share expenses.


Although it requires effort, downsizing is a great way to reduce expenses and pay off debt.

Move to a less expensive neighborhood or apartment. Swap to a more fuel-efficient car or one with lower monthly payments. Cancel any subscriptions you don’t need, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Disney+.

Look for ways to cut monthly expenses without hurting your quality of life.

Negotiate with Your Credit Card Companies and Other Creditors

At the end of the day, credit card companies and other creditors want to get paid. Some will work with you to make a repayment plan and reduce what you owe just to ensure they get something.

Before you contact your creditors or lenders, do your research. This will give you the best chance of negotiating down your debts.

READ MORE: Best debt settlement companies

Check out this video to learn more about how to negotiate with your creditors:

Make Extra Payments

It takes time to repay $50,000 in debt, but you can expedite the process with extra payments or by paying more than the minimum due.

If, for example, the minimum monthly payment is $50 on an account, try to pay $75 or $100 instead. Or, if you have the extra money in your budget, make a second or third payment later in the month.

Doing this will decrease how long it takes to pay off your balance. It can also lower your interest charges.

Some lenders charge a prepayment fee for those who pay off their loans early. This isn’t very common with credit card debt, student loans, or medical bills. Still, check with the company to make sure there aren’t any penalties for early repayment.

Choose a Repayment Strategy

Whether you owe $50,000 in debt or $5,000, the right debt payoff strategy can help. Here are seven different paths to financial freedom:

1. Debt Settlement

Debt settlement is where you work with a third-party company that attempts to reduce how much you owe by negotiating with your creditors on your behalf. These companies, or debt settlement agencies, are usually for-profit and charge a fee based on how much debt they settle.

Essentially, the debt settlement agency will negotiate your debt down to a lower balance than what you initially owed. During negotiations, you’ll need to make regular deposits into a secured account. If a creditor agrees to settle a debt, the agency will then take over your debt payments, either paying them in a lump sum or in installments until the debt is repaid.

READ MORE: Debt consolidation vs. debt settlement

Pro tip: The average consumer who goes this route saves around 30% of the total debt settled after fees.

READ MORE: Debt settlement fees

However, there are a few downsides to debt settlement.

For one thing, the agency will probably request that you stop paying your creditors during negotiations. This gives them a better chance of reducing your debts but can also result in late fees or charged-off debts, and your credit score could temporarily fall.

For another, creditors and lenders aren’t legally required to settle debts, meaning the process might not work.

On the plus side, a legitimate debt settlement company can’t charge you for their services until they’ve successfully settled a debt. This method can also be beneficial if the alternative is bankruptcy.

READ MORE: Debt settlement qualifications

Pro tip: If you’re interested in hiring a third-party debt settlement company, check out our top picks.

Or schedule a consultation to see if debt settlement is a good fit for you by clicking this link and filling out our contact form.

2. Debt Consolidation Loan

With a debt consolidation loan, you can combine several high-interest debts into a single loan with a fixed monthly payment and a lower interest rate. The lower interest rate and one monthly payment can make it easier to keep track of your debt and give you extra money to cover daily expenses.

Pro tip: As with any line of credit or loan, a debt consolidation loan can be risky. Once you’ve moved your credit card balances to the new loan, it may be tempting to start using those cards again. Pack them away or cut them up. Otherwise you risk ending up even deeper in debt.

You’ll also need a good credit score to qualify for a debt consolidation loan with ideal interest rates and terms. Otherwise, the loan won’t help you save money.

READ MORE: Best debt consolidation loans

3. Balance Transfer Credit Card

A balance transfer credit card lets you move one high-interest credit card debt to a new account with a much lower APR. These cards sometimes come with a balance transfer fee of around 2% or 3% of the transferred amount.

A balance transfer credit card probably won’t cover all $50,000 in credit card bills and other debts. However, it can help with smaller amounts that have high interest rates.

Keep in mind that you’ll probably need a high credit score to qualify for one of these credit cards.

READ MORE: Best balance transfer credit cards

4. Personal Loans

There are two types of personal loans: secured and unsecured.

  • A secured personal loan requires an asset like a paid-off vehicle or house to be tied to the loan. This means that if you fail to make the monthly payments, the lender can take the asset instead. This option works best for borrowers with poor credit or those who can’t qualify for financing elsewhere.
  • An unsecured personal loan doesn’t require any collateral. Instead, lenders use factors like the borrower’s credit score, history, debt-to-income ratio, and income to determine their eligibility. In some cases, you might be able to get a cosigner to help increase your approval odds.

Secured personal loans generally have lower interest rates than unsecured ones because your collateral means the lender assumes less risk. Homeowners can use their home’s equity to get a loan or line of credit with an interest rate that’s significantly lower than most personal loans.

Pro tip: Personal loans usually have higher interest rates than debt consolidation loans. Only get a personal loan if the new interest rate and other terms are better than the high-interest credit card debt you had before. That way, you can cut down on monthly costs and interest fees.

READ MORE: Secured vs. unsecured debt

5. Debt Management Plan

Generally offered by nonprofit credit counseling agencies, a debt management plan (DMP) lets you combine multiple credit card debts into a single plan. This often results in reduced interest rates, meaning you can put more money towards the principal balance instead.

This is how it works:

An agent will contact your creditors and let them know you’re enrolled in a debt management plan. From there, they will see if they can reduce your monthly payments by lowering your interest rate or waiving any late fees. Once that’s done, you’ll make payments to the credit counseling agency instead of your creditors.

Most DMPs take 3 to 5 years to complete but, ultimately, you could be debt-free.

Pro tip: DMPs have a few down sides. One is that any connected credit card accounts will likely be closed. This means you won’t have access to those lines of credit anymore. Another is that credit counselors usually only work with credit card debt. The third is that you’ll pay a monthly fee ranging from $25 to $80 per month, which adds up over the life of the plan.

READ MORE: Debt settlement vs. debt management

6. Debt Snowball Method

The debt snowball method aims to pay off your debts as quickly as possible, starting with the smallest balance. This can be highly motivating for those who like to see consistent progress.

Start by organizing all your debts from the smallest balance to the largest. Don’t worry about interest rates.

Next, pay as much as possible towards the smallest debt while paying only the minimum amount due on all other debts. Once you’ve paid off the account with the lowest balance, move on to the next smallest debt. You should have a little extra money since there’s one less account to pay, so put that towards the current debt.

Continue this process until all debts are repaid.

7. Debt Avalanche Method

With the debt avalanche method, you first focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate. This is often the debt with the highest balance but not always.

To do this, organize your debts based on interest rate rather than balance. Then, pay as much as you can reasonably afford on the account with the highest interest rate. Meanwhile, only pay the minimum on all other accounts. Once the first account reaches a zero balance, move on to the next highest interest rate and repeat the process.

Pro tip: Debt avalanche takes more discipline than the debt snowball method, but it can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest. It can also decrease how long you can repay your debts by several months.

READ MORE: Debt avalanche vs. debt snowball

Review Your Credit Report and Learn Your Credit Score

No matter your financial situation, you should review your credit reports and credit score at least once a year. You can get a free copy of your credit report from all three reporting bureaus at Or you can request it from the bureaus directly.

Credit Score Ranges

A person’s credit score is a three-digit number that indicates their creditworthiness. Oddly enough, your credit score won’t start at zero. The minimum score is 300. Instead, you’ll have “no credit.”

If you need to give your credit score a quick boost, sign up for a service like Experian Boost that lets you use your monthly subscription payments to build credit.

There are two main scoring models used by lenders today: FICO and VantageScore. When applying for loans, it’s more important to know your FICO score than your VantageScore.

FICO score rangeVantageScore range
Excellent credit800 and up781 and up
Very good credit740 to 799 661 to 780 
Good credit670 to 739601 to 660 
Fair credit580 to 669500 to 600 
Poor credit300 to 579300 to 499

Typically, borrowers with higher credit scores qualify for more financing options with better terms and interest rates.

The Bottom Line

Figuring out how to pay off $50,000 in debt can initially feel overwhelming. But with enough planning, discipline, and a good debt relief strategy, you can regain control over your finances.

Before choosing any specific method, assess your financial situation honestly and make a budget. Then, weigh your options to determine what will work best for you.


Does the Government Help With Student Loans?

This depends. If you have federal student loans, you might qualify for student loan forgiveness in certain cases. For example, if you work for the government or a nonprofit, you could receive student loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

How Much Credit Card Debt Does the Average American Household Have?

The average American household has between $5,525 and $8,701 in credit card debt.

Will I Go to Jail for Not Paying My Loans?

You won’t go to jail or be arrested for not paying consumer loans. This is because these debts are considered “civil.” Other debts, like not paying federal taxes or child support, could result in jail time. A lender, however, could sue you. If you receive a court mandate and fail to show up, you could be arrested or have your wages garnished.

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