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.
Deferred interest promotional offers are often promoted similar to zero percent balance transfers, but they’re a little different. A deferred interest offer will backdate interest on your balance – assess the full finance charge from the start of the promotional period – if you don’t pay the balance by the time the promotional period ends. Always read the terms of your promotional offers to know whether you need to pay off the full balance before the end of the promotional period to avoid paying finance charges on the balance. You don’t want to be caught off guard with several months of finance charges added to your balance.
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There is no rational explanation for these occurrences, but they can be explained by human behavior. Consider the so-called, “January effect” which suggests that many stocks outperform during the first month of the year. There is no conventional model that predicts this, but studies show that stocks surge in January because investors sold off stocks before the end of the year for tax reasons.
The double billing cycle uses the average daily balance of the current and previous billing cycles. This is the most expensive way finance charges are calculated and is unfair to cardholders because it charges interest on balances that have already been paid. Fortunately for credit cardholders, the double billing cycle method of calculating finance charges was outlawed with the passing of the Credit CARD Act of 2009.
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.