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.
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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.
If you want to calculate your own finance charge, you have to know your credit card balance for each day of the billing cycle. While your credit card statement won’t list each day’s credit card balance, you can use your statement (or your online transaction log) to figure out the balance. Start with the balance at the beginning of the billing cycle. Then, add or subtract from the balance each day you have new transaction. Let’s say your APR is 12% and your billing cycle is 25 days long. You started the billing cycle with a balance of $100. On Day 4, you made a $100 purchase. On Day 20, a $25 payment was credited to your account. Your daily balance for each day during the billing cycle would be: Day 1 – 3: $100. Day 4 – 20: $200 ($100 purchase). Day 20 – 25: $175 ($25 credit)
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.