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Should I Take Out a Home Equity Credit Line to Pay Off My Credit Card Debt? – Joni

“Dear Steve,

Credit card debt about 30,000. I contacted you before but my computer crashed and I can’t locate your email. Own a home, never late on mortgage, pays credit cards on time. Interest rates are so high I’ll never catch up. I’m thinking on a home equity credit line to clear up this debt since its impossible to clear with the high interest.

What other options do I have? I believe I can work this debt down within 5-7 years but the credit card companies wont budge on their interest rates. Since my balances are high, traditional sources (banks, credit unions) won’t approve me. Help!


Dear Joni,

Let’s start with the basics.

I’d suggest you first read How to Get Out of Debt. The Honest and Unvarnished Truth and The Truth About The Success Rates, Failure Rates and Completion Rates of Credit Counseling, Debt Settlement, and Bankruptcy. They will give you a great overview of what we need to deal with to get you moving in the right direction.

Then use the free How to Get Out of Debt Calculator to review your options.

After that, come back here and comment about what seems to make the most sense and let’s discuss that.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

1 Comment

  • Hi Joni,

    If you decide to go with the heloc, it is very advisable for you to make a deal with yourself. That deal should be that you will only use your cards for emergencies going forward. The reason I say this, is it is very common for someone after they consolidate their credit to end up in the situation down the road again.

    The heloc is generally a sensible approach. You’ll maintain your good credit, lower your monthly expenses and exposure to interest.

    Also, it is further advisable for you to calculate a 5 – 7 payoff for your heloc. You mentioned that as your goal. So, when you acquire your loan, try to arrange the terms so they are the most affordable. But pay the 5 – 7 year payment amount.


    30 year term on $50,000 at 6% interest is $299.78.

    Compared to –

    7 year term on $50,000 at 6% interest is $730.43.

    The idea being that you have the comfort of a $299.78 payment, so if something should ever negatively impact your monthly income, your situation will be more likely to be affordable. And, if things go smooth, providing that you pay the 7 year payment amount ($730.43) each month, you should pay it off within that amount of time.

    Good luck to you. Please feel free to follow up with any additional questions.

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