If you continued making minimum payments and no additional charges on this account, you’d pay $18.00 in finance charges over the course of a year. Why Does the Billing Cycle Matter? Credit card companies state your interest rate in terms of an annual percentage rate, or APR, to make it easier to compare various credit cards and loans. However, you are not charged interest on an annual basis. You’re charged interest periodically based on your billing cycle. Including the billing cycle in the finance charge calculation ensures you are charged interest only for that specific period of time.
If you want to calculate your own finance charge, you have to know your credit card balance for each day of the billing cycle. While your credit card statement won’t list each day’s credit card balance, you can use your statement (or your online transaction log) to figure out the balance. Start with the balance at the beginning of the billing cycle. Then, add or subtract from the balance each day you have new transaction. Let’s say your APR is 12% and your billing cycle is 25 days long. You started the billing cycle with a balance of $100. On Day 4, you made a $100 purchase. On Day 20, a $25 payment was credited to your account. Your daily balance for each day during the billing cycle would be: Day 1 – 3: $100. Day 4 – 20: $200 ($100 purchase). Day 20 – 25: $175 ($25 credit)
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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.
Depending on what you expect from your personal finance software, AceMoney can take the place of Quicken, Microsoft Money, and other titles. What’s missing in AceMoney is the ability to download transactions from all major financial institutions and online bill pay. The investment reporting could be stronger, but the multiple currency support is good. Another strong point is the online user community that’s available for getting help, although the help feature in the software explains how to use all features quite well.
Before you get started, AceMoney asks if you want to use the sample file that comes with the software. I recommend using it to experiment with the software to see how it works. You can also start with a new data file, but it may be easier to rename the sample file, add your own accounts, edit budget categories and make other adjustments while deleting the accounts that come with the sample file. After renaming the data file and saving it, you will need to restart AceMoney to use the new file.