The ending balance method uses your balance at the beginning of the billing cycle minus payments plus charges made during the billing cycle – which is essentially your balance at the end of the billing cycle. The number of days in the billing cycle doesn’t affect the amount of the finance charge. Having a high balance at the end of your billing cycle would increase your finance charges under this method. The previous balance method uses the balance at the beginning of the billing cycle which is also the ending balance of the last billing cycle. No payments or charges are included in the balance. The number of days in the billing cycle doesn’t affect the amount of the finance charge.
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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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.
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 Best News Magazines That Cover Finance, Business, Markets and the Economy. The Economist: Although not a dedicated finance magazine, this is one of my all time favorite publications. I find the articles help me gain perspective on what is going on here in the United States by framing things in a more global context. The Economist describes itself as an ”authoritative weekly newspaper focusing on international politics and business news and opinion.” This one is a must read.