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.
Deferred interest promotional offers are often promoted similar to zero percent balance transfers, but they’re a little different. A deferred interest offer will backdate interest on your balance – assess the full finance charge from the start of the promotional period – if you don’t pay the balance by the time the promotional period ends. Always read the terms of your promotional offers to know whether you need to pay off the full balance before the end of the promotional period to avoid paying finance charges on the balance. You don’t want to be caught off guard with several months of finance charges added to your balance.
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Here’s how it works. Your credit card has a grace period, which is typically between 21 and 25 days after your billing cycle ends. You can typically find the length of your grace period on the front or back of your billing statement. The grace period is your chance to pay your full credit card balance and dodge finance charges. Your statement may even include a disclosure that states the date you have to pay off your balance to avoid finance charges. Pay the full balance listed on your credit card statement to avoid seeing a finance charge on your next statement. If you pay just part of your balance, your next billing statement will have a finance charge calculated based on the unpaid balance and any new purchases you make.
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Finance Charges You Can’t Avoid. You’ll typically only get a grace period when your previous balance was paid in full and you started the billing cycle with a zero balance. If you had a balance at the beginning of the billing cycle, you may not be able to avoid a finance charge. You will have to bring your balance to $0 before the grace period applies again.