If you continued making minimum payments and no additional charges on this account, you’d pay $18.00 in finance charges over the course of a year. Why Does the Billing Cycle Matter? Credit card companies state your interest rate in terms of an annual percentage rate, or APR, to make it easier to compare various credit cards and loans. However, you are not charged interest on an annual basis. You’re charged interest periodically based on your billing cycle. Including the billing cycle in the finance charge calculation ensures you are charged interest only for that specific period of time.
The average daily balance method uses your balance during the billing cycle multiplied by the APR for that balance. The average daily balance method can be less expensive compared to some other finance charge calculation methods. Your average daily balance is the sum of your balance on each day of the billing divided by the number of days in the billing cycle. Here is the calculation for the average daily balance method: average daily balance * APR * days in billing cycle / 365
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Balances With Different APRs. If you have balances with different APRs on your credit card, the finance charge for these balances is calculated separately. For example, you’ll have a finance charge for purchases, one for balance transfers, and one for cash advances if you had all these balances on your credit card. So, if you’re calculating your own finance charge, you will have to calculate the average daily balance separately for each.
As a result of these faulty assumptions, conventional finance models don’t have a perfect track record. In fact, over time, academics and finance experts began to notice anomalies that conventional models could not explain.
Different credit cards calculate finance charges in different ways. To find out how your creditor calculates your charge, look on the back of a recent billing statement. You should find an explanation there. If you know how your credit card issuer calculates your finance charge, you can estimate your own finance charge and even find ways to minimize the finance charge you pay. Regardless of how your credit card issuer calculates your finance charges, you can avoid paying interest on your balance by paying in full each month. Below are six ways finance charges can be calculated – one has been made illegal within the past decade. Click on the links for a more detailed explanation including example of how each finance charge calculation method works.