If you take your time paying off your credit card balance, your credit card issuer will charge a fee for the convenience of taking your time rather than paying your balance right away. This fee is called a finance charge and is simply an interest fee charged on money you’ve borrowed. Finance charges usually apply to any balance carried beyond the grace period. You can generally avoid paying a finance charge by paying your entire balance before the grace period ends.
Different credit cards calculate finance charges in different ways. To find out how your creditor calculates your charge, look on the back of a recent billing statement. You should find an explanation there. If you know how your credit card issuer calculates your finance charge, you can estimate your own finance charge and even find ways to minimize the finance charge you pay. Regardless of how your credit card issuer calculates your finance charges, you can avoid paying interest on your balance by paying in full each month. Below are six ways finance charges can be calculated – one has been made illegal within the past decade. Click on the links for a more detailed explanation including example of how each finance charge calculation method works.
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Best for Wealth Management: Personal Capital. Personal Capital. Courtesy of Personal Capital. Personal Capital is a personal finance and wealth management app that allows you to manage your assets and investments along with your everyday spending accounts. The service integrates with more than 14,000 financial institutions so you can link your accounts within the app. While you can connect to your bank account to track spending and create a monthly budget, the app really shines in helping you track and optimize your investments. You can track your portfolio by account, asset class or individual security. With built-in intelligence available on the tablet version of the app, you can discover opportunities for diversification, risk management, and discover any hidden fees you may be paying. Comparing your own portfolio to major market benchmarks allows you to determine whether you’re on track to meet your investment goals. Personal Capital provides registered financial advisors who can provide you with customized advice tailored to your goals.
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.
Moneydance for Linux offers several impressive features, including multiple currency support, currency rate updates, an organized home page, and backup to Dropbox. Easy-to-install extensions are available to enhance many of these features. Like most good personal finance software, Moneydance has online banking capabilities. It features graphs, reports, and a nice summary page to give you a visual feel for where your finances stand. You can use it to set up payment schedules for recurring or one-time transactions. You can also get a Moneydance app for your iPhone if you want to keep your budget with you at all times.