By the end of September 2020, Americans carried $989 billion in revolving credit card debt. Broken down further, this figure represents an average of $9,151 in credit card debt carried by each U.S. household nationwide.
This illustrates how much Americans rely on credit cards to cover living expenses or surprise bills in a pinch. Unfortunately, the average credit card APR was 16.43% in mid–2020, which means consumers are paying out the nose to manage their debts.
While debt reduction programs cannot make your debts disappear on their own, it can help you create a thoughtful plan to pay things down faster or create more interest savings over time. Debt reduction programs can also help you create a formal debt snowball or debt avalanche plan, then track your results.
We compared more than 20 debt reduction software programs and apps to find the best options for different types of consumers. This ranking of seven represents the best options available today based on function, price, ease of use, and more.
The 7 Best Debt Reduction Software Programs of 2021
Best Overall: Quicken
Automatically categorizes your transactions for you, making it easier to track your spending
Available for Mac or Windows, but you can also utilize the mobile app
Qualify for a 30-day money-back guarantee
The app boasts 4.6 out of 5 stars in the App Store
No free version available
May be overly complicated for people who want simple debt reduction assistance
Quicken is a company that offers comprehensive financial tracking software with a debt reduction component. This money management tool lets you see your entire financial life in one place, including your bank accounts, investments, loans, and other financial details. You can oversee and pay your bills using the interface with some plans, which are available for Windows or Mac. You can also create a debt reduction plan and oversee all your spending with tools that let you search for transactions and determine where your money is really going.
Quicken has been around for more than 30 years, and over 17 million people have used its software. This company has 256-bit encryption that protects your data, and there's a 30-day money-back guarantee period.
You’ll pay a minimum of $34.99 per year for the basic program, but you can upgrade to the more popular “Deluxe” version for $44.99 per year. This plan allows you to create a budget and track your debt, so it’s likely the best for someone seeking debt reduction help. The next plan up is the “Premier” version, which includes bill pay software and priority access to customer support.
Why We Chose It: Quicken is our best overall because this software has been around for 30 years with excellent results. While you won’t find a free version available, the annual cost is reasonable when you consider the access you receive to this software and the mobile app.
Best for Fast Payoff: ZilchWorks
Receive a 30-day money-back guarantee
Creates a fast and efficient way to pay off debt
Requires you to manually enter your debt information
Does not sync with your bank accounts
Doesn’t deal with other aspects of your financial life, such as analyzing your spending or investments
No mobile app
ZilchWorks is ideal for consumers who want software that focuses on debt reduction online. Their program works diligently to analyze your debts and figure out the fastest and most efficient way to pay them off. Once you create a plan with ZilchWorks, you will know exactly how much you need to pay each month toward each debt, and it will tell you when you’ll be debt-free.
An interesting fact about Zilchworks is that you only have to purchase this software once. This makes it less expensive for the long haul than some other debt reduction software programs that require a paid annual membership. A standard program for a single user starts at $39.95, but you can purchase software for 10 users for $349 total. ZilchWorks has also been around since 1990.
We like the fact that ZilchWorks creates an efficient debt payoff plan for you based on either the debt avalanche or debt snowball methods–the choice is yours to pay off the highest debt or highest rates first. It’s important to note that you do have to enter your debt payments manually into this software. Also note that Zilchworks doesn’t have its own mobile app, so you’ll need to use desktop software.
Why We Chose It: ZilchWorks focuses on creating the fastest path for anyone to get out of debt, mostly because they use the debt avalanche or debt snowball method, depending on your needs. While this software isn’t intended to oversee your full financial picture, its promise is simply helping you relieve debt in the least amount of time.
Best App: Tally
Tally doesn’t charge any fees to use the mobile app, although you may pay its interest payments if you qualify for a line of credit at a money-saving APR
Tally will pay your credit cards for you using the app, but you can also opt to manually pay your credit card bills yourself
The Tally app has great reviews, with an average score of 4.5 out of 5 stars
Tally is only available in 30 states plus Washington D.C., although it claims to be adding new states on a regular basis
Tally is an app without any desktop software
This software is for debt repayment and management, but it doesn’t help you create a budget or manage your finances
Tally is an automated debt manager that boasts a lifetime savings of $5,300 for its users. This mobile app helps consumers by offering a line of credit at a lower interest rate than they’re paying on their credit cards. From there, Tally monitors each credit card and its balance, and then uses its smart technology to help you know which cards to pay off first. Generally speaking, Tally operates using the debt avalanche method, meaning you would pay off credit card balances with the highest APRs last.
Tally is free to download, meaning you can access the app and manage your debts without any cost. The company makes money by charging you interest on your line of credit, which should be lower than the interest you were paying on a credit card. Credit limits are between $2,000 and $20,000.
While this app does promise to automate debt repayment for you, it does offer the option to let you pay your credit card bills yourself. Tally also promises the safe transfer of your data, which is transmitted securely using SSL encryption.
Why We Chose It: Tally made our list for the best debt reduction app because it incorporates debt reduction with consolidation all from a smart device. The app specifically makes it easy to manage your credit cards and bills in one place, and that includes the new line of credit Tally provides. We also like that Tally will pay your credit card bills on your behalf if you want, creating the ultimate hands-off debt repayment process.
Best Free Option: Unbury.Me
This software is absolutely free
Use Unbury.Me to calculate your best path out of debt using the debt snowball or the debt avalanche method
Unbury.Me is not available on mobile
You have to manually enter all your debt information
Doesn’t sync with bank accounts
If you really just want access to a free tool that can help you create a debt repayment plan you can manage yourself, Unbury.Me is a good option. This software includes a basic debt repayment calculator you can use to craft a payoff plan using the debt snowball or the debt avalanche, two different strategies that have you focus on smallest debts or debts with the highest interest rate first.
Interestingly, you do not have to download this software to your computer. Instead, you simply log into the Unbury.Me website each time you want to tweak your loan information or add another debt to your payoff plan. This app doesn't sync with your bank details, so you do have to enter your information manually. Unbury.Me, however, does let you create an online account where you can store your information.
Even though there are a lot of limitations with this debt reduction software, it is effective in helping you see the big picture and determine whether to use the debt snowball or debt avalanche method. For someone disciplined to follow a set plan, Unbury.Me might be all they need.
Why We Chose It: While Unbury.Me is incredibly basic, it’s totally free to use. We also believe it’s a helpful tool for consumers who want help creating a debt payoff plan without having to deal with complicated software or syncing their bank accounts.
Best for Envelope Budgeting: Qube Money
Free version available
Lifetime memberships with more perks can be purchased
Manage your debts and get on a budget
Qube Money helps you organize your finances and spend with purpose
Free version has limited functionality
Qube Money officially launched in the spring of 2020, so there are few reviews and user opinions to compare
You need to use a Qube debit card for your purchases, which may turn some people off
Qube Money is a comprehensive financial management tool that lets you plan your finances using the “envelope budgeting method.” This method of budgeting forces you to set spending limits in all discretionary categories including groceries, dining out, entertainment, transportation, and more. From there, Qube Money sets up digital envelopes that work in conjunction with a Qube Money debit card tied to your account. The app tracks your spending and other family member’s spending who are synced to the program, letting you work within parameters and stay on track.
Qube Money is also rolling out automated debt reduction, which will help you manage your credit card bills and other debts in an optimized way. With the Qube Money budgeting help that you receive, you’ll also be in the best position possible to “find” extra money you were wasting before and can use to pay down debt faster.
Qube Money offers a free version, but you can also pay for a lifetime membership for couples for $216, or a lifetime membership for families for $324. Their default security system also requires you to open a “qube” using your mobile app before you can spend money with your Qube debit card, making the system foolproof and secure. You can also apply for Qube Kid cards that let your little ones learn about and be part of the family finances.
Why We Chose It: Qube Money helps you manage all aspects of your finances, and is the only debt reduction software that made our list for envelope budgeting. If you want to pay down debt and start using a budget that works, consider giving it a try.
Best for Automation: Qoins
Qoins helps you pay off your debts by rounding up your purchases and funneling small extra amounts toward credit card bills
Debt repayment happens automatically, and you don’t even have to think about it
Qoins promises to help you pay down debt faster and improve your credit score
The Qoins app averages a 4.8 out of 5 stars among its reviews in the Apple Store
Qoins charges $1.99 per bill payment, which could add up quickly if you have a lot of bills
Qoins doesn’t help you create a budget or manage other aspects of your finances
Qoins is a mobile app that lets you automate the debt repayment process with extra money gleaned from rounding up your purchases. This lets you pay off debt seamlessly and potentially without even noticing the extra money you’re spending each month. You’ll sync all your bank accounts with the Qoins app, and they will actually begin paying your bills on your behalf.
While Qoins aims to help you pay down debt by rounding up your purchases, this app can be used to pay more bills than one might think. For example, you can use Qoins to pay student loans, mortgage payments, auto loans, etc. Of course, you only have to use Qoins to pay bills you want to pay with the app. You have the option to pay some of your bills manually if you want, simply by not including them in your Qoins app.
Interestingly, Qoins charges what it calls a "convenience fee" of $2.99 for each of the bill payments it makes on your behalf.
Qoins says it uses industry-standard encryption and never stores your banking information, which helps with security. Qoins was founded in 2016 and claims to have helped users pay off more than $10 million in debt so far.
Why We Chose It: We believe Qoins is best for automation because this app rounds up your purchases on your behalf and throws your extra money toward your debt balances. Once you download the app and connect your accounts, the hard work of debt repayment is done for you.
Best for Debt Snowball: Undebt.it
Undebt.it is free to use
You can create a smart payoff plan using the debt snowball method
You can even sign up for Undebt.it using your Twitter or Facebook account for the ultimate ease of use
You have to enter your debts manually, as well as payments you make each month
Undebt.it doesn’t sync with your bank accounts or update your information on its own
This calculator is mobile friendly but it doesn’t come in the form of a mobile app
Undebt.it is a free debt reduction calculator you can use on any desktop computer or mobile device. This calculator helps you use the debt snowball method, which asks you to pay off your smallest debts first while making minimum payments on the rest. Founded in 2012, Undebt.it claims to have more than 117,000 active users and $8.6 billion in debt that's currently being paid down.
Creating an account is entirely free, but you do have to enter all your individual debts and accounts manually. From there, Undebt.it will help you craft a debt payoff plan using the debt snowball method (or via the debt avalanche method, if you prefer). You can also use “Debt Snowflakes” to tack on additional payments to specific bills, and you can track your credit utilization, spending, and debt payoff plan all in one place.
Undebt.it is a secure option to consider if you want a debt reduction program that doesn’t require you to enter your banking information or passwords. For anyone concerned with identity theft or compromised information, this is a bonus even though it does limit the features available.
Why We Chose It: The Undebt.it debt snowball calculator uses a streamlined interface to create a savvy debt repayment plan for free. The snowball method pays off your smallest debts first.
What Is Debt Reduction Software?
Debt reduction software can come in many forms. Some tools include simple features like debt reduction calculators, while others sync with your bank accounts and pay your debts on your behalf. Why are these programs so dramatically different? At the end of the day, some consumers want more help paying off debt than others, and not everyone wants to pay for access to software.
Just keep in mind that the ultimate goal of debt reduction software is helping you pay down debt faster or more efficiently. The strategies to help you get there can vary among software programs, so you should explore all of your options to see which programs offer a path out of debt that makes sense with your goals.
What Are the Expected Costs of Debt Reduction Software?
Debt reduction software is often free, and even some paid programs offer a free version you can try. Paid plans can cost $30 or more per year, and some offer a lifetime subscription.
Is Debt Reduction Software Worth It?
While paying for debt reduction software may feel counterintuitive, these programs can be well worth it if they help you save money on interest, get out of debt faster, or both. These programs also make sense for people who have tried to get out of debt on their own but found they need a third party to help them create a plan they can stick to.
Debt reduction software can easily lead to thousands of dollars in savings depending on how much debt you have. With that in mind, these programs can easily pay for themselves.
What Is the Best Debt Payoff Method?
Two of the most popular debt repayment strategies include the debt snowball and the debt avalanche. Where the debt snowball asks you to pay off your smallest debts first while making minimum payments on the rest, the debt avalanche asks you to pay off your highest interest rate debts first while making minimum payments on the rest. The debt avalanche is usually considered the “mathematically correct” option since it lets you save more on interest by paying off the highest interest rate debts first, but many people like the debt snowball due to the psychological satisfaction they get by paying off small debts first.
Other debt payoff methods involve taking out another loan, be it a debt consolidation loan, a home equity loan, or a balance transfer credit card. These options can help you consolidate your debts at a lower interest rate, but you have to remember that you’re just borrowing more money.
If you do decide to take out another loan to pay down debt at a lower rate, you have to be careful to change the habits that got you into debt in the first place. If you consolidate debt with a personal loan but you keep using your credit cards for regular spending, for example, it’s possible you could wind up worse off than when you started.
How We Chose the Best Debt Reduction Software Programs
To find the best debt reduction software programs, we looked for services that offer a wide range of functionality for a reasonable cost (or no cost at all). We included some programs that sync with your bank accounts and provide oversight of your complete financial picture, but we also wanted to include free tools that can help you create a path out of debt without having to link your bank accounts.
Overall, we looked for programs that have solid reviews, a history of helping people out of debt, and security features that can keep your information safe.
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. "Consumer Credit - G.19." Accessed November 23, 2020.