Credit card debt is the most common consumer debt most people will have trouble with. Since it is so dangerous to carry around a few thousand ringgits when you do your shopping, credit card is the perfect solution in terms of convenience and safety. In other words, you are also bringing with you a huge amount of money to spend. If your credit limit is RM10,000 per card and you have three credit cards, it is like having RM30,000 spare money in your wallet to let you spend instantly.

That’s the reason why most people has trouble controlling their spending habits. If you are one of the victims of this modern financial creation, see if the below tricks are useful to you.

Earn More Money

It is not a bad thing to fall into debt. Look at the positive side, it actually urges you and motivates you to earn more. Your current income is simply not enough to cover your desired lifestyle or needs.

Why I say “needs”? Some people own money not because they like to spend a lot. For example, expensive medical fees demanded by hospital when your old parent is hospitalized may be the cause of maxing out your credit limit.

The most practical and encouraged solution: EARN MORE MONEY.
Take up a part time job.
Start a business!
Increase your productivity!

Just make more money. Period.

Turn Credit Card Debts into Term Loans

Call the banks to seek for alternative. Instead of keep paying the not-so-affordable minimum payment, you can ask to turn the debt into term loans with lower interest charges.

Shred the plastic

To avoid using the card and keep on spending more, cut the credit cards. When it is out of sight, it is out of mind.

Use Debit Cards

I know credit card gives you convenience and safety, especially at petrol station. You can always replace it with debit cards.

Overdraft (OD)

If you have a property, such as your house, you can apply Overdraft facility to settle your credit card debt. OD interest is lower. Moreover, you can always pay it off earlier ,unlike term loan or car loan.


Be honest. Talk to your relatives and close friends. They will lend you the money if it is not substantial. You can spread the amount to several friends and relatives. Instead of paying 18% credit card debt interest, you can pay them slightly higher interest compared to Fixed Deposit rate.

Cut Expenses

This is the obvious thing to do.

Pay more than the minimum payment required

This sounds simple. But most people won’t realize that they had increased the credit card debt until the day they can’t even afford the minimum payment.

Balance Transfer Program

You can apply new cards that offer you low interest or interest-free period when you transfer balance. Instead of paying many small debts, consolidate them and only focus to settle one debt.

Insurance policy loan

If you have paid insurance premium for a few years, you can take out policy loan to settle your high-interest-debts.

Seek help from AKPK

AKPK is debt counselling agency by the federal government to assist you. They may be able to help you negotiate with the banks and solve your problem earlier. Don’t be shy to call them.

Do you realize that when you don’t need money, banks keep calling you to lend you more?
But when you desperately need the money, they are somehow reluctant to hand you the cash.
This is the reality.

So, how do you settle your credit card debts?
Tell us your success stories. Or you can also warn us with a bad example.


Personal finance author and trainer

    36 replies to "11 tricks to settle your credit card debt"

    • Seekingadvise


      If we are under akpk but now have extra money to pay off some of the credit card debt, should we terminate the akpk? And can we negotiate with bank to settle at lower amount?

    • Raymond

      Always pay yourself first. Spend what you left after saving. Keep a journal of your spending if necessary. Practise practice practice until it became a habit.

    • zatu

      I pay full every month for my Credit card. Good for easy pay intstallment. I redeem the point and buy gold !!!

    • Rashidi Yusoff

      I came across something called the easy payment plan for cc where it’s similar to a term loan but in a shorter amount of time like 2-3 years.

    • Ahmad Syafiq M Amin

      Had came across a recent balance transfer offer by MBB at 0% interest and 0% upfront fee to be settled within a year. Usually they will charge 3% upfront fee for the amount transferred, but during this campaign period, I couldn’t resist because I had a total statement balance of RM4,800 or so.

      Hence I transferred approximately RM5,160 for which I was charged by MBB for the upfront fee, which will be reimbursed by MBB within 30 working days. Just started out but it was timely as I would have been forced to take out part of my long term savings to just settle the balance.

      RM430 per month is not so bad haha. Usually I paid my statement balance in full, but major necessary expenses were incurred for that month.

    • Khairil

      I pay / settle the credit card balance everytime i used it , always pay it full and i make sure i have the money in the bank before i used the credit card, become a habbit now i will feel restless if i owed someone or bank frankly speaking with this method i don’t have any debt as today with house or even car,

      Biggest leason learn for me when i was 22yrs old i has huge debt on credit card rm3500, it take me a month salary back then, when bank tag my account and take all my a month salary once salary credited to my account, all of it leave me non to spend for the month.

    • […] comfortable with the interest rates imposed by the company at the end of the introductory period. But if you are a responsible person, interest rate should be a big concern here since you’ll never owe them any money, […]

    • Christine Yong

      Credit Card? Lol…I don’t have credit card, fortunately..

      But I know credit card is truly burdensome, and it is really exhausting, especially I have seen someone with more than 5 credit cards

      • KCLau

        I have friends who makes money from their credit cards, not the other way though. It depends on how good we are at managing our money.

    • steven yoong

      I cannot apply credit card,because I only 20year old,but me always subscribe bank promotion for debit card,like discount or rebate,save more money.

    • annie louisa

      How to reach help to a person who is without propetys to mongage,relatives and friends reluctant to help,not qualified to apply loans.pls advice.

    • jim

      Anyone experienced in this Overdraft (OD) ? What is the requirement and process on it. Thanks.

    • Ash

      *Turn credit card debts into term loan*
      *Seek help from AKPK*

      This two methods is good, but after apply you can kiss all hope to get a new facility from other bank in Malaysia good bye until you make full settlement.

      Working as a credit card customer service for a local bank for the past 2 years really taught me about prudent spending. The most worrying pattern is the young graduates that just get their first job, finish up the credit limit in less than 3 months. Worst, even the first statement is not out yet, they already used to the max.

      Looking from the pattern, and it don’t need a genius to guess that this group of young people have very little knowledge about financial management. There’s no investment that can beat cc interest, and at the end of the day he or she just become a slave to the bank.

      In my opinion, the most contributing factor to cc debt among young graduates is; they buy their first car too early. There’s a lot of cases that I’ve seen, even though they don’t spend much on other things by using cc but only on petrol, they still cannot afford to pay in full. And of course the outstanding balance will go snowball for the next few months.

      The basic rule of using cc; buy things that you can afford to pay back in FULL only. Or else you will start your own nightmare.

    • hanibor

      TQ for a very good article KC. I had known all along abt the evil of cc. Had a nasty experience way back during my early years of working. Decided then that I’ll stick with charge card as I’m one of those who do not like to keep cash with me. Unfortunately, quite a number of merchants do not favor charge cards. Then a couple of years back I collected a mail @ Pos Laju and it turned up to be a cc given by a bank. I figured that since I went all the way to Bangsar to collect the card, I might as well kept it. Wat a big mistake! Then to make matter worse I generously paid a hefty sum for an uncle using the cc and when he paid me in cash, I somehow didn’t settle the full amount. Anyway, to keep the story short, reading this article had jolted my husband and I to take immediate action. We had just cut into 2 three CCs (tho I’m still contemplating if I shld do the same with another 1) and tomorrow we’ll take up a bank’s offer for a loan, timely to settle off all the outstanding.

    • TW

      Firstly, Brilliant Tips KC. many people will appreciate it.
      Recently, it was reported that 460 ppl <30 was declared bankrupt last year because of CC debt. And that is perhaps only the tips of the iceberg.

      We are all resposible for our own actions and liable for the consequences. However, my personal opinion is that the gov. is eargerly encouraging consumer consumptions through CC in favour of loose CC regulations. The banks somehow are the "crooks" in town! How could a person which earns 2K have given 10-15 times his monthly earnings with issuance of several card? It should be limited to X 3 monthly income. Many debtors here are partly a victim of poor governance.

      One of the startegy to add on to KC's: Get into good debts.

      Example. Get a property that yields good returns. If you have a good track record with repayment, you'll pass easily for loans. Make sure your rental yields can cover your monthly housing installment. Continue paying whatever you can to your CC debts. Property do appreciates (4%-20% a year) in general. Now , you have options:
      1.To take an overdaft from your property loan(to sattle you CC debts) & pay back with housing interest (4% approx- one of the lowest i the world).
      2. Sell off for a gain (to pay your CC) when price is right.

      Unless one is fluent in properties, it is better to tread on safe waters i,e run the mill, cut all unnecessary cost and repay the debts as long as it takes . Cheers

    • WYC

      Hi sunwic, similar to you, the point collection attracted me to use credit card (cc) too. I put some of my payment such as insurance, bills, etc. to cc for the sake of the points. We can treat the point redemption as one of the cc benefits. For amount >RM100, I paid with my credit card even though I have enough cash in my wallet during that time. However, try to clear our cc debt straight away or few days later (not to wait until the monthly statement to come), I used to do that.

      Credit card can be an evil when you misused it but it can also be our fairies if we used it appropriately 🙂

    • sunwic

      I treat my credit card as the alternative to having cash in hand. to ensure that I dont overspend, I set a weekend budget (since that is the time I go shopping) and that would be my limit to be charged to the cc for that weekend.

      For the big purchases, I try and look out for the 0% interest monthly payment scheme offered by the CC. Again I ask myself whether I can afford to pay the monthly installment (within my budget) if not, I look for alternative items or break the purchase to cash payment and balance I pay by credit card.

      I Have a maximum of 2 credit cards only (Master and Visa). Since these CC operators are the major ones. Why do you need to have more than 1 card for each operators as the services are the same?
      By having only 2 cards, you will be able to manage your payment well.

      I like to collect points, therefore I put all my bills to my CC. Again, I cluster them to 1 card so that I know how much budget I need to allocate to pay when I get my CC statements.

      Key here is discipline. When you have the urge to purchase something ask yourself these questions:
      1. Do I need this item
      2. Am I buying this because of the discount offer that I cannot refuse (e.g. slash by 70%)
      3. The CC company gives me treats (discount vouchers. buy 1 second 50% off etc) and therfore I am saving money. You save a lot more if you dont purchase them at all.

      Here are my habits on controlling my CC spending. Hope it would be beneficial for some of you.

    • PuteriNaziah

      I’m in the process of settling my outstanding credit card bills.. it was like a nightmare to me when all (3) my credit cards reached a maximum limit and the banks keep on calling me like hell and the reminder letters keep on sending to me. I spend most of my income just to pay for the minimum payment and cannot buy other things… I was really suffer until i get my loan to settle some of my outstanding. Credit card can be your survivor but it also can ruined your life and makes you sick!!!

    • Yap C.W.

      I’ve been owing few banks credit cards and personal loan and yet i’m exhausted of paying due to business failure and current drawing a less than 2k salary to cover my daily expenses. What should I do to overcome all this problem and yet i really can’t make any further repayment. Please help ! !

      • KCLau

        this may be the toughest time in your life. Looking at the positive side, many successful entrepreneurs started their “big hits” when they faced the most challenges.

    • Smith

      “Always ask bank to waive your Annual Fee”

    • Chin

      Hi, can u please share more on the term loan or negotiating lower rates? As akpk mentioned once we apply for it, we will not be able to get into any loan i.e mortgage. So I wonder if term loan or negotiation for lower rates affect too?

      As my only solution now is getting into b/t with the lowest rates and be discipline to the payment every month.

    • Sammi

      It’s true, my friend successfully turned credit card debt to term loan.

    • Julmazli Dempollok

      About the second trick KC, (Turn Credit Card Debts into Term Loans). Is that really work? I mean, it’s done before by someone? Example maybe. The trick is new for me.. Thanks for you help.

    • F

      I dont have credit card. I only have debit card. Spend only when money available.

    • AROLE

      Ive been thinking for a while, if you ask me how to settle credit card debt, i would simply suggest you to try ”main kutu/ duit kut” among your trusty colleague. Ask to be the 1st player to receive the money so that you can pay the CC debt immediately, then you pay monthly until finish the “main kutu” with zero interest.. hehe..settle problem..

      • KCLau

        that’s a good alternative to get extra fund.

        • Pretty Naziah

          ya good idea!

    • KK Lim

      Nice one. In fact I am now trying to pay off my credit cards. I have reduced the amount by taking up ‘balance transfer’ and ‘cash on call’ offers by the banks from early this year. Although I am paying about the same amount each month but I know the ‘pain’ will be over in 2 years. Moreover I am saving on the interest charged.

    • Some great tips! Negotiating a lower interest rate can also help. It’s often as easy as one phone call and would make it easier to reduce the debt by having more of your payment now go to the principle.

    • Laura

      What I have to do when no one bank want gave me credit card? I have only debit…

    • mtsen

      I stop credit card debt by paying in full every month no matter what. that way, I will feel the pain every month and start some behavioral changes.

      On the other hands, I try to get into as much good debt as possible, that way, I never look back at credit card debt coz I can get better debt else where …

    • Ivan Ten

      never ever miss the payment due date, or else we will think like this,”oh, since i already missed this month’s payment, then i shall pay it off together with next month’s bill.” if we do like this, then next month mostly we will repeat the same things and the debt will just keep on rolling larger. why? it’s just simple, cause you will spend out the money you earned this month which you supposed to pay off the credit card bill, when next month come, you will find that actually your next month’s salary is not sufficient to pay off 2 months’ credit card bill, and this will just continue. I suffered this last year and luckily I realized it after 3 months and got the help from my sister to settle it. However, i took whole year to pay back my sister, it’s a nightmare!Since that, i used debit card more than credit card and i never ever miss the payment duedate for the credit card anymore.

      • KCLau

        Thanks for sharing your experience


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    • ipohfly

      Nice one. I think awareness should be raised among the ‘fresh’ youngster that just step into the working life. I’d seen some that still think that by paying the minimum payment alone will subsequently help pay off all their credit card debt at a later time, which of course will only lead to a greater debt amount.

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