How Promotional Rates Affect Finance Charges. Some credit cards offer a zero percent introductory interest rate to entice new customers who want to avoid interest. During the promotional period, you generally won’t receive a finance charge even if you don’t pay your balance in full. However, once the promotional period ends, any remaining balance will start accruing finance charges at the regular APR. During the promotional period, you can also be assessed a finance charge on balances that aren’t subject to the promotional rate. For example, if the promotional rate applies only to balance transfers, then purchases you make will be charged a finance charge.
Before downloading transactions, you can select predefined periods of time for the transactions you want to see in the register, and it’s great to have this option, which is particularly helpful if you only want the past six month’s worth (for example) of transactions instead of two years worth. Not all personal finance software offers this option, and you can easily end up downloading months of transactions that you don’t want to track.
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The Best Finance Magazines Covering Investment Topics. Investor’s Business Daily: Investor’s Business Daily is a finance magazine for the serious investor. It’s a well-respected publication that offers market and stock analysis for those who want to pick and choose their own stocks and bonds. I’ve never personally subscribed, but I’ve always heard great things about this publication. Wall Street Journal: All it takes to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in Corporate America is a quick read of the front cover of the Wall Street Journal each morning.
Balances With Different APRs. If you have balances with different APRs on your credit card, the finance charge for these balances is calculated separately. For example, you’ll have a finance charge for purchases, one for balance transfers, and one for cash advances if you had all these balances on your credit card. So, if you’re calculating your own finance charge, you will have to calculate the average daily balance separately for each.
How Much Is the Finance Charge? Finance charges are calculated each billing cycle based on your APR and credit card balance, so your exact finance charge will typically vary from month to month. Creditors have different methods of calculating finance charges based on how they calculate your balance. Credit card issuers may calculate your finance charge using your daily balance, an average of your daily balance, the balance at the beginning or end of the month, or your balance after payments have been applied. It’s now illegal for credit card issuers to charge a new finance charge on a balance you paid off in a previous billing cycle.