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.
How Much Is the Finance Charge? Finance charges are calculated each billing cycle based on your APR and credit card balance, so your exact finance charge will typically vary from month to month. Creditors have different methods of calculating finance charges based on how they calculate your balance. Credit card issuers may calculate your finance charge using your daily balance, an average of your daily balance, the balance at the beginning or end of the month, or your balance after payments have been applied. It’s now illegal for credit card issuers to charge a new finance charge on a balance you paid off in a previous billing cycle.
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Best for Budgeting: EveryDollar. The EveryDollar app uses the zero-based budget method recommended by personal finance expert Dave Ramsey. The zero-based budget gives every dollar a purpose in the budget, hence the app’s name EveryDollar. A built-in monthly expense tracker allows you to connect to your bank to import transactions to keep up with your spending. You can even split expenses between multiple budget items. The tracker shows you the amount you’ve spent so far for the month and the amount you have left to spend. Through the app, you’ll be able to connect with money management experts who can help you with your financial planning. You’ll be able to access your budget through the app or via a desktop computer. All new users receive a free trial of the premium version of the app. You can permanently upgrade through the app menu.
Motley Fool’s You Have More Than You Think. The creators of one of the most popular financial stock market sites, www.fool.com, brothers Tom and David Gardner also wrote the New York Times Bestseller You Have More Than You Think. The Gardner brothers’ book aims to show how even inexperienced investors can invest the smallest amounts of money and still make a profit. Their far-from-foolish advice includes how to reduce your debt and find money to invest, how to find the best investments, how to manage your 401(k), and more. As with most of their writing, this personal finance book is a fun and easy to read.
The double billing cycle uses the average daily balance of the current and previous billing cycles. This is the most expensive way finance charges are calculated and is unfair to cardholders because it charges interest on balances that have already been paid. Fortunately for credit cardholders, the double billing cycle method of calculating finance charges was outlawed with the passing of the Credit CARD Act of 2009.