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.
A man stresses about finances. The adjusted balance method starts with the balance at the beginning of the billing cycle and subtracts any payments you made during the billing cycle. Purchases are not included in the balance. Out of all the ways to calculate finance charges, this method results in the lowest finance charge, but not very many credit card issuers use it. The average daily balance method uses the average of your balance during the billing cycle. Each day’s balance is added together and divided by the number of days in the billing cycle. New charges are sometimes excluded in the calculation of the average daily balance. This is the most common way finance charges are calculated.
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These include: Attention Bias: There is evidence suggesting that people will invest in companies that are in the headlines, even if lesser known companies offer the promise of better returns. Who among us hasn’t invested in Apple or Amazon, simply because we know all about them? National Bias: An American is going to invest in American companies, even if stocks overseas offer better returns. Underdiversification: There is a tendency for investors to feel more comfortable holding a relatively small number of stocks in their portfolio, even if wider diversification would make them more money.
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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.