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How to Choose a Debt Payoff App

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Debt payoff apps can help you organize your debts and formulate an effective repayment plan. These apps come with various structures, features, and prices to suit many financial situations. With a bit of effort, you can find something that works for you.

  • If you’re comparing debt payoff apps, there’s no shortage of options available. 
  • These apps can help you get organized to repay your balances, and they may focus on different methods for doing so. 
  • Comparing costs, features, and platform types is essential for narrowing down the best solution for your needs. 
  • Choosing an intuitive app that aligns well with your financial goals can help you stay motivated to repay your debts.

Some debt payoff tools cost more than others, without really offering any extra features to make up for it. See our picks for the best debt payoff apps to help narrow down your search.

Types of Debt Payoff Apps

There’s a variety of debt payoff apps and services. Some are designed to help you with budgeting, while others help you stay on track with bills or even consolidate debt.

Bill Organizers and Budget Planners

If you need help organizing your debts and budgeting for repayment, a bill organizer or budget planner app like undebt.it may be a wise choice. These apps generally let you add your debts to one account, select a repayment option based on your needs and preferences, and offer advice on prioritizing your bills. Essentially, they tell you to put more money toward specific debts.

With undebt.it, for example, you can choose from eight different debt payoff plans, including the popular debt snowball and debt avalanche methods, and track how you’re progressing toward full repayment.

Debt Reduction Spreadsheets

A debt reduction spreadsheet isn’t necessarily an app, but it can help you accomplish the same goals—understanding your debts and repaying them. While you could create a debt reduction spreadsheet on your own, doing so may be complicated and time-consuming unless you’re skilled with Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

Fortunately, companies like Vertex42 offer pre-made debt reduction spreadsheets to help you organize and prioritize your bills, and formulate a plan for debt repayment. The basic version of Vertex42’s debt reduction sheet is free and lets you choose from multiple repayment options, including the basics along with stair-stepper and custom strategies. It could be a good solution for someone with a handful of payments to manage. 

You’re not alone if you struggle to manage your credit card payments and other debts. Credit card debt among U.S. consumers has soared to $1.08 trillion and student loan debt tipped the scales at $1.6 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve’s third-quarter 2023 Household Debt and Credit Report.

Debt Consolidation Apps

Consolidating your debt—i.e., using one loan or credit line to repay multiple debts—often makes it easier to manage your payments and may also reduce your interest costs. For instance, if you have four high-rate credit cards and juggling payments is difficult, consolidating them could make those debts more manageable. If you consolidate at a lower rate (or a lower average rate), you can save money overall, as well.

Certain apps, like Tally, offer debt consolidation for eligible users in addition to debt management guidance. Tally not only helps reduce your debt burden but also helps you formulate a plan for repayment and track your progress. This combination can be useful for someone struggling to manage high-rate debt and several monthly payments.

You don’t need an app to consolidate or refinance your debt—there are many online personal loan lenders, including some that offer loans for fair and poor credit. Explore the best debt consolidation loans to check your rates.

Automated Bill Payment Apps

Automated bill payment apps like Bright Money are another solution that could help with debt repayment. With these apps you can track and manage your bill payments in one place, helping you stay organized and reducing the likelihood that you’ll pay late or miss a payment entirely. 

For example, Bright Money analyzes your financial situation and credit card debts and helps you determine how much to pay toward each card (at least the minimum due). It then makes your payments for you according to your specific financial goals. When you progress toward repayment or improve your credit score, Bright Money sends you encouraging notifications that can help you stay motivated.

The best budgeting apps and tools can help you repay your debt by organizing your expenses and income, which can be very useful. However, this article focuses specifically on apps with debt management and repayment features, which can be used along with a budgeting app.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Debt Payoff App

  • Cost: Some debt payoff apps and services are completely free, have free trials, or require one-time or monthly payments from the start. Compare costs as you research apps to find one that aligns with your budget. 
  • User-friendly interface: Some debt payoff apps offer more user-friendly interfaces than others. Consider testing different options to find an app that’s easy to navigate and clearly presents the information you want.
  • Types of debt: Some services might allow you to link many different types of debts, while others focus specifically on credit cards.
  • Repayment strategy options: Find an app that includes the repayment strategy you’d like to use. Some focus on one or a few specific debt repayment strategies, like snowball and avalanche, while others have more options and allow for custom plans.
  • Account integration: Some apps let you sync bank accounts, credit card statements, and more. Others require you to enter information manually.
  • Security and privacy: Since debt payoff apps often sync with your financial accounts, look at the security and privacy features offered.
  • Compatibility: If you’re an Apple or Android user, check if the app you’re considering is compatible with your operating system.

How to Get a Debt Payoff App

  • Online-only tools: Some debt payoff apps are online-only tools you access by logging in to an online account through a web browser. If you choose a service like this, you can sign up for an account on the app’s dedicated website to get started.
  • Mobile apps: If you opt for a mobile app, you can download it via a link on its dedicated website, or through Google Play or the Apple App Store. Mobile apps may be free or paid, depending on the app you select or the features you’d like to access. 
  • Desktop apps: Unlike mobile apps, desktop debt payoff apps run on your laptop or desktop computer. You can download a desktop app from your preferred company’s website. Like mobile apps, desktop apps could be free or paid. 
  • Downloadable spreadsheets: The process of accessing a downloadable spreadsheet is fairly simple. You visit the website of the tool of your choosing and download the sheet. The sheet then usually appears in your browser’s “Downloads” folder, and you can open it from there, following any subsequent prompts to get set up.

Certain debt payoff apps may offer more than one option for access. For instance, you might be able to download a mobile app that automatically syncs with an online dashboard or desktop app. 

Best Debt Payoff Apps

App/Service Price Money-Back Guarantee Platform
Quicken Starts at $41.88/year 30 days Web, desktop, Android, iOS
ZilchWorks Starts at $39.95/year 30 days Desktop
Tally $0 to $300 per year plus interest for line of credit; app is free No Android, iOS
Unbury.me Free N/A Web
Qube Money Starts at $79/year (limited free version available) No Android, iOS
Undebt.it Free N/A Web

See the best debt payoff apps to learn more about why we chose these services and how they can help you improve your financial situation.

Debt Payoff Strategies

Just as many debt payoff apps exist, so too are there many debt payoff strategies. Here are some popular strategies debt payoff apps may offer. 

Debt Avalanche

The debt avalanche method focuses on prioritizing your highest interest rate debt first, with the goal of minimizing your total interest charges and saving the most money. With the debt avalanche, you make the minimum monthly payments on all your debts and use any money left over toward your highest-rate debt. 

Depending on your balances, it can take longer to see progress with the debt avalanche method, so it’s not for everyone. But if you want to prioritize your high-rate debts and keep more money in your pocket, this could be the perfect option.

Debt Snowball

The debt snowball method focuses on quick wins in debt repayment. With this method, you prioritize your smallest debts first, making minimum payments toward your other debts. Once you’ve fully repaid the smallest debt, you switch focus to the next-smallest, and so on. 

As with the debt avalanche method, the debt snowball isn’t right for everyone. But it could be ideal if repaying small debts fairly quickly will keep you motivated. 

Highest Credit Utilization First

“Amounts owed” is a key factor in your credit score, accounting for 30% of your total FICO score. Focusing on your highest credit utilization first is a good way to reduce the amount you owe and potentially improve your credit score over time. In practice, this usually means focusing on the credit card with the least available credit.

While prioritizing your highest credit utilization first might not save you as much money as focusing on your highest-rate debt first, it’s a wise move if your primary goal is to build credit

Stair-Stepper

The stair-stepper, as explained by the Vertex42 tool, is a combination of the debt avalanche and the debt snowball that could be good for someone with many debts. You begin by grouping your debts according to balance, such as $0–$3,000, $3,001–$6,000, etc. Then, starting with the lowest group, you pay off the balances with the highest interest rate first. Then you move on to the next-smallest group of balances, and so on.

Custom Payoff Plans

If none of the above payoff plans sound like the best solution, you can also create a custom payoff plan that better meets your needs. For instance, you might prioritize a specific type of debt, like student loans, as doing so could help you feel unburdened. Some debt payoff apps allow you to create custom plans like this.

Debt Consolidation/Refinance

Consolidating debt involves combining multiple debt accounts into one, reducing the number of monthly payments you have to make. You do this by getting a new loan or credit line and then using it to repay multiple existing balances. In some cases, the lender may pay off those balances directly, without sending the money to you. The primary goal of debt consolidation is to make it easier to manage and track your payments, although you may also be able to reduce your interest rate.

Refinancing debt means replacing an existing loan or credit line with a new one at a lower interest rate, or with an extended term that results in more manageable monthly payments. Take note, however, that if you refinance with a longer term you will likely end up paying more overall than you otherwise would have.

The Bottom Line

The right debt payoff app combined with the right attitude could help you formulate a debt repayment plan and stick to it. Fortunately, several types of debt payoff apps and strategies are available, so there’s likely a solution that will align with your situation and goals. Compare app costs, features, integrations, and other details. Doing so will help you choose the best possible solution and stay motivated as you tackle your debt.  

Are There Free Debt Payoff Apps?

Yes, there are free debt payoff apps and tools. For instance, Vertex42 offers a free spreadsheet to help you manage and get out of debt, but there’s also a pro version for an additional cost. Other services, like undebt.it and unbury.me, offer free web-based tools, while programs like Debt Payoff Planner are free and available to download for Android and Apple devices.

How Do I Keep Track of Paying Off Debt?

Debt payoff and budgeting apps can help you organize your debts and track your payment progress. You can also rely on basic tools, such as your credit card issuers’ online dashboards or a custom tracking spreadsheet you create.

How Do I Decide Which Debt to Pay First?

It can be smart to prioritize repaying your highest-rate debt, as more interest will accumulate on those balances—this is known as the debt avalanche strategy. That said, the right debt payoff strategy for you depends upon your preferences and what would be most motivating. 

For instance, if tackling large balances with high rates seems too overwhelming, but repaying small debts first would keep you motivated, starting with those small debts could be the best strategy—this is known as the debt snowball method.

Is It Better to Pay Off Debt Immediately or Over Time?

Whether it makes sense to pay off debt immediately or over time depends in part on the type of debt you have and other factors. In general, paying off your credit card debt in full each month is ideal, as doing so can help you avoid costly interest charges. Credit cards typically have high rates, so interest charges can add up fast, making it more challenging to repay your debt.

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