How to Avoid a Finance Charge. Since finance charges are the credit card issuer’s way of charging you for carrying a balance, the simple way to avoid finance charges is to not carry a balance. Paying your credit card balance in full every month will prevent your credit card issuer from adding a finance charge to your balance.
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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.
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.
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.