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.
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.
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If your credit card issuer calculates your balance using the average daily balance method, tou can minimize your finance charges by paying your balance down earlier in the billing cycle. The daily balance method is similar to the average daily balance method because it uses the balance each day of your billing cycle. Instead of averaging the balance, each day’s balance is multiplied by the daily rate for a ”daily finance charge.” Each day’s finance charge is totaled for the finance charge for that billing cycle.
Mint, Intuit’s personal finances apps, is one of the most well-known personal finance apps that provides your complete financial picture in one place. Once you link your credit and debit cards to your account, Mint pulls your transactions, categorizes them and shows how you’re spending your money. You can keep track of your bills and spending and create a budget you can stick to. Free access to your credit score is one of the more recent additions. You can get a breakdown of the factors contributing to your credit score to stay on top of your credit health. Plus, you can track your investments and schedule utility payments. For bills that you manually pay, the app can send e-mail reminders or add the due dates to your phone calendar. You can use the app exclusively or access your account via computer.
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.