There are many different ways to approach paying off credit card debt. Two of the most popular approaches are either the “debt snowball” or the “avalanche” method.

It is important to understand the differences between these popular methods to discern which method of credit card debt paying is the best for you. According to NerdWallet, the debt snowball is when you focus on paying off your smallest debts first.

Who does the debt snowball work for?

If the idea of eliminating your individual sources of debt quickly motivates you, the debt snowball method may be a good choice. For instance, if you have one credit card that has $1,000 of debt, one credit card that has $5,000 of debt, and one credit card that has $15,000 of debt, with the debt snowball method you would pay off the $1,000 credit card debt first.

For many people, eliminating one of the debt sources is very motivating. One of the biggest problems many people have with paying off their credit card debt is sticking to a plan. If you know that fast progress will motivate you to stick with your goal of eliminating credit card debt, the debt snowball method may be the best choice for you.

What are the drawbacks?

The biggest drawback to the debt snowball method is that it pays no attention to interest. In the previous example with the three different credit cards, if the credit card with $5,000 of debt has the highest interest rate and you decide to focus on the $1,000 debt first to eliminate it, you may end up ultimately paying more in interest.