If your credit card issuer uses the average daily balance method to calculate your finance charge (check your credit card statement or terms and conditions to confirm), you can use these instructions to estimate your finance charge. You’ll need to have an idea of what your average credit card balance will be. Your credit card agreement may include a minimum finance charge that’s charged anytime your balance is subject to a finance charge. For example, your credit card terms may include a $1.00 minimum finance charge. If your calculated finance charge for a particular billing cycle is only $.65, you’ll be charged a $1.00 finance charge for that month.
Mint, Intuit’s personal finances apps, is one of the most well-known personal finance apps that provides your complete financial picture in one place. Once you link your credit and debit cards to your account, Mint pulls your transactions, categorizes them and shows how you’re spending your money. You can keep track of your bills and spending and create a budget you can stick to. Free access to your credit score is one of the more recent additions. You can get a breakdown of the factors contributing to your credit score to stay on top of your credit health. Plus, you can track your investments and schedule utility payments. For bills that you manually pay, the app can send e-mail reminders or add the due dates to your phone calendar. You can use the app exclusively or access your account via computer.
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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.
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.
The Best News Magazines That Cover Finance, Business, Markets and the Economy. The Economist: Although not a dedicated finance magazine, this is one of my all time favorite publications. I find the articles help me gain perspective on what is going on here in the United States by framing things in a more global context. The Economist describes itself as an ”authoritative weekly newspaper focusing on international politics and business news and opinion.” This one is a must read.