Sending in bi-weekly payments to your credit cards is a little-known way to save money and get out of debt for good. Here’s how it works.

Assume you have $5,000 on a credit card with an interest rate of 17%. If you only pay the minimum each month you’ll end up taking 14 years to pay off your debt, adding an extra $4,119 in interest.

On the other hand, you can use the bi-weekly payment method. Simply send it your $150 minimum due before the due date. Then scrounge up some extra money for a second payment. If you can make another payment of $75 every two weeks you’ll end up paying your debt in only 3 years, cutting the interest payments to a total of $2,521.

The way this works is fairly simple. Each half payment every two weeks winds up with 26 payments a year. That means you’re paying the equivalent of 13 monthly payments instead of 12. Basically, the entire extra month will go to pay off the balance, not interest.

The bi-weekly payment method is easy to implement because you’re paying exactly the same amount of money, just spreading it out. Your credit card companies are also required to accept your payments whenever they receive them and credit them properly, so you don’t have to worry about your credit card company not giving you the benefit of bi-weekly payments.

The system works best if you start with your highest interest credit card. Make sure your first, full payment posts well before the due date. If you can, pay online to ensure a timely payment. After that, all you need to do is send in a half payment every 14 days. As long as your statements don’t show any fees you can’t account for, ignore your statements.

As long as your payments arrive on time every 14 days to your card issuer, you’re using the system flawlessly and cutting the time you’ll need to repay your debt tremendously. A great way to ensure your payments go out every 14 days is to sign up for an electronic transfer with your bank or credit card company. This will automatically take out the required half-payment every 2 weeks and send it as a payment to your credit card account.

To read more about bi-weekly payments to your credit cards, read MSNBC’s article, “Lower credit card debt with biweekly payments.”