Concerned woman looking at credit card bill
Concerned woman looking at credit card bill

Low-interest borrowing, with your interests in mind

These 3 easy-access borrowing options work around high interest rates

A tank of gas here, a celebratory dinner there. These commonplace purchases have added up to nearly $1 trillion in U.S. consumer debt in 2022, and many borrowers may end up paying double for it. Unless...

How did we get here? First off, American credit card debt is accelerating at a 20-year record pace – up 13% from 2021, to $887 billion.1 Break that figure down, and the average credit card balance, as of September, shook out to $5,270.2

American credit card debt is accelerating at a 20-year record pace.

A lot of those balances are long-term, and therefore costly – 40% of credit card holders carry at least two years of debt.3 And that debt is now compounded by record-high interest rates. As of November, the average annual percentage rate (APR) charged by credit cards was 19.14%.4 That’s a 30-year high.

This is where "paying double" comes in

Take that average credit card balance of $5,270. If a borrower paid the minimum due on that balance, at 19% APR, it would generate $7,750 in interest fees over 280 months, according to Bankrate’s payment calculator.5

That’s right – the interest would more than double the debt.

That’s not a comforting calculation, but we have 3 alternatives

This is where the “unless” comes in.

There are more affordable and even rewarding ways to get out of this odyssey of debt. At First Financial, we offer three easy-access borrowing and debt-consolidation options to suit a range of household needs. They are:

A home equity line of credit (HELOC)

A HELOC is essentially a second mortgage that provides you with a line of credit based on your home equity. Unlike traditional loan options that only offer a lump sum, a HELOC allows you to borrow as needed over time.6, 7 Your bonus of interest: Because a house is used as collateral, a HELOC typically offers more affordable interest terms. It’s worth asking about promotions. For example, for a limited time we’re offering HELOCs to qualifying homeowners at a promotional rate of 6.99% for the first six months.8 Learn more about our HELOC here.

f1RST Quick Loan

When life throws you a curveball, like a broken water heater, you shouldn’t have to charge the repairs to a high-interest credit card. Enter f1RST Quick Loan. This flexible, quick-approval borrowing option allows our customers to tap into just the right amount of money they need, up to an approved limit. Your bonus of interest: the f1RST Quick Loan is available at a promotional rate. Once the six-month draw period is over, borrowers can pay off the balance over five years at a fixed rate, which is less expensive than today’s average credit card APR. Find out more about our personal loans here.

Credit cards with 0% interest

For those who know they can pay down debt fast, our Visa Rewards credit cards offer introductory APRs of nothing in the first year. That 0% APR also applies to balance transfers completed in the first 12 months after the account is opened. Your bonus of interest: Our added balance-transfer feature enables borrowers to shift their high-interest debts from non-First Financial credit cards or loans and pay them down without interest. This makes for faster debt pay-offs. Further, our Visa Rewards and FC Cincinnati credit cards are free of annual fees and issue points that can be redeemed for merchandise, cash, travel, gift cards, or statement credits. More information about First Financial credit cards is here.

Let's get high interest rates under control

When it comes to lending options, our philosophy is simple: A healthy debt balance among our customers makes for a more profitable community. We also believe a household forced into financial hardship, due to uncontrollable circumstances, is not an irresponsible household.

Consolidation is about strength. We want to be there for you when it’s time to strengthen your financial position.

If you’re interested in learning more about the borrowing products we offer, visit us here. For personal investment options that make sense now, you can learn more here.

1 “More debt, higher fees: Credit card borrowers face mounting burdens,” By Abha Bhattarai, The Washington Post, Oct. 17, 2022;

2 “Poll: 60% who have credit card debt have owed their creditors for at least 12 months,” By Erica Sandberg,, Sept. 17, 2022;

3 “More debt, higher fees: Credit card borrowers face mounting burdens,” By Abha Bhattarai, The Washington Post, Oct. 17, 2022;

4 “Current Credit Card Interest Rates,”,

5 “Minimum Payment Calculator,”;

6 “Requirements for a Home Equity Loan and a HELOC,” By Taylor Getler, NerdWallet, March 7, 2022;

7 “Home Equity Loan vs. HELOC: What’s the Difference?” By Amy Fontinelle, Investopedia, March 17, 2022;

8 APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Introductory rates start at 6.99% for the first 6 months. $10,000 minimum loan amount or increase to existing line required. Eligible on owner occupied properties only. Must apply by June 30, 2024 for promotional rate. Non-promotional rate ranges from 8.35% to 11.80% APR. All loans subject to credit review and approval and rates are subject to change without notice. For additional information on loan benefits, please view our checking account options.

The information on this page is accurate as of January 2024 and is subject to change. First Financial Bank is not affiliated with any third-parties or third-party websites mentioned above. Any reference to any person, organization, activity, product, and/or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement. By clicking on a third-party link, you acknowledge you are leaving First Financial Bank is not responsible for the content or security of any linked web page. Member FDIC / Equal Housing Lender.


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