[TL;DR = Too Long; Didn’t Read. That is, it’s the executive summary]
When on Facebook, I make a point of clicking on ads for financial products, so that more of them will advertise to me, so I can better keep track of what’s being marketed. Recently, I came across an ad from a company called Tally. Here’s a screen shot of the ad:
The front-page marketing material pitches the benefit as a way to pay off credit card debt faster. While company is not trying to be evil, the product isn’t really very useful. It’s basically a form of debt consolidation. You pay Tally, and Tally will pay your credit cards on your behalf. Their pitch is that you will avoid late fees since they manage paying the bill to your dozens of creditors on your behalf, and that you’ll pay debt off faster since their interest rate may possibly be lower than the rate from your bank.
If credit card debt were just a matter of mathematics and organization, then their pitch would be accurate. However, credit card debt is usually a symptom of disorganization and not paying attention. (If you have credit card debt, feel free to give a nod and a smile at this point!) So, borrowing money from Tally so they can pay your credit card bills for you probably won’t solve your problem. Instead, it will anesthetize you to the pain of credit card debt, and make it easier to get more. (This isn’t their stated goal – again, I think their intentions are good.)
Instead, you should slice up the cards. If you have any automatic payments on your credit cards, move them over to your debit card from your bank account. Then list your debts on the debt snowball page and get about the business of paying them off! A pretty user interface won’t make you pay off credit card debt. Instead, deciding in your mind and heart that credit card debt is not the way to go and then sacrificing current comforts to pay more, that will get you out of credit card debt. You can do it. Now go do it!