If, for some reason, your minimum payment is less than your finance charge, paying the minimum will result in a bigger, not smaller, balance. Can You Lower Your Finance Charge Amount? Since your finance charge is based on your interest rate and credit card balance, you’ll pay higher finance charges when these amounts are high. You can reduce the amount of interest you pay by paying off your balance faster, requesting a lower interest rate, or by moving your balance to a credit card with a lower interest rate. You can also avoid finance charges altogether by paying your entire balance before the grace period ends. If you pay your balance in full each month, you’ll avoid finance charges completely.
Unfortunately, you may not be able to avoid finance charges on all types of balances. Balance transfers and cash advances don’t have a grace period, so finance charges start accruing as soon as the balance hits your card. When it comes to these types of balances, the best way to avoid a finance charge is to stay away from those transactions completely. The exception is when your credit card has a zero percent interest rate promotion, but these rarely apply to cash advances.
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You’ll be charged a finance charge whenever: the transaction isn’t made under a 0% interest promotion you had a balance at the beginning of the billing cycle the transaction doesn’t receive a grace period, usually cash advances. Any billing errors that you’ve disputed in writing won’t be assessed a finance charge while your credit card issuer investigates your dispute.
Complete Idiot’s Guide to Managing Your Money. Don’t be offended by the title. This plainly written book shows that anybody can learn to manage their money effectively, and is full of consumer tips, advice on mortgages, debt, mutual funds, auto loans, bank fees, credit cards, and other money-related matters. The book, written by expert financial columnist Robert K. Heady and financial writer Christine Heady, has already gone through four editions and sold millions of copies.
A word of caution, however: YNAB was initially designed for Mac and Windows, and then Linux users alerted the company that it also was working fine on their operating systems. Some bugs were subsequently reported. They’ve been fixed, and yes, the software will work for you, but YNAB won’t guarantee its performance. GnuCash for Linux sports a rather plain-looking interface, but it still has a good feature set, including online stock quotes and multiple currency support.