In a separate section that breaks down your interest charges, you’ll see a break down of your finance charges by the type of balances you’re carrying. For example, if you have a purchases balance and a transfer balance, you’ll see details of the finance charges for each. This is because these balances often have different interest rates and grace periods. How to Pay Off Your Finance Charge. Making your minimum credit card payment, which is printed on the first page of your credit card billing statement, is usually enough to cover your finance charge plus a small percentage of the balance. However, if you’re only paying the minimum payment, your balance will shrink at a small pace since so much of the payment goes toward paying interest. You’ll need to increase your minimum payment if you want to pay off your balance faster.
The Millionaire Next Door. In this newly updated book, authors Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D. and William D. Danko, Ph.D. attempt to debunk the myth that most American millionaires have inherited their wealth. They even go as far as to identify seven common traits that are shared among many of those who have accumulated significant wealth. By demonstrating how hard work and smart investing have made millionaires out of average Americans, this book shows us that we too can be among the ranks of the wealthy. The book makes for a very interesting and motivating read.
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How Promotional Rates Affect Finance Charges. Some credit cards offer a zero percent introductory interest rate to entice new customers who want to avoid interest. During the promotional period, you generally won’t receive a finance charge even if you don’t pay your balance in full. However, once the promotional period ends, any remaining balance will start accruing finance charges at the regular APR. During the promotional period, you can also be assessed a finance charge on balances that aren’t subject to the promotional rate. For example, if the promotional rate applies only to balance transfers, then purchases you make will be charged a finance charge.
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.
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.