What Is a Finance Charge, and How Do I Avoid Paying One?
If you're savvy, you can avoid credit card finance charges entirely.
If you pay off your statement balance completely during a grace period, you could dodge interest charges altogether. (Getty Images)
Borrowing money typically costs money, and credit cards are no exception. One of the advantages of having a credit card is that you don't have to pay off your balance each month. But that perk comes at a price, called a finance charge.
Here's what you need to know about credit card finance charges, how they're calculated and what you can do to avoid them.
How Credit Card Finance Charges Work
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Carrying a balance. If you don't pay your balance in full by the due date each month and there is no promotional 0% APR period, you will incur a finance charge based on your card's APR and the remaining balance.
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Generally, credit cards require relatively low minimum payments compared with balances. While some credit card issuers include interest charges in the minimum payment, others just charge a flat percentage. "If this minimum is less than the accrued interest," says James Philpot, certified financial planner and associate professor in the department of finance and general business at Missouri State University, "you will effectively be borrowing more money from your card issuer in order to pay interest."
Transferring a balance. If you transfer a balance from one card to another, you may incur a finance charge in the form of a balance transfer fee. You may also pay interest on the balance unless the card has an introductory 0% APR balance transfer promotion. Check the card's terms before you submit your request.
Requesting a cash advance. If you use your credit card to get cash from an ATM, interest will start accruing immediately from the date of the transaction, with no grace period. The APR for credit card cash advances is often higher than the APR for purchases.
Making a foreign transaction. A foreign transaction on your credit card, whether in a foreign country or currency, can incur a foreign transaction fee. This fee is typically about 3 percent of the transaction.
How Credit Card Companies Calculate Finance Charges
In some ways, Life Is Strange couldn’t be more different than Dontnod Entertainment’s sci-fi action game Remember Me, but in other ways, the episodic adventure game is similar. Both games use Unreal Engine 3 technology to create beautiful worlds to explore. And both titles also feature a strong female protagonist. Set in Arcadia Bay, Oregon, players take control of teenager Max Caulfield and embark on an adventure that will span five interactive episodes.
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JUSTIFIED (FX, Jan. 20) The series-long love-hate relationship between Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and his friend and nemesis Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) will be resolved, one way or another, in the show’s sixth and final season.
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Note, however, that some credit card issuers compound interest on a daily basis, so your calculation may be even more complicated than this one.
How to Avoid Paying Credit Card Finance Charges
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India National Cricket Team
Take advantage of your grace period. Most credit cards offer a grace period on purchases. If your credit card has one, it typically runs from the end of your billing cycle to your payment due date. By law, you must receive your credit card bill at least 21 days before it is due.
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The potential impact of any surprise move in Fed policy was clear in the “taper tantrum” of 2013, when just the suggestion that the Fed might soon rein in its ultra-loose monetary policies was enough to provoke a wave of global panic.
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Inflation (and deflation) won't rear its ugly head Surging oil production — along with slower global growth — has caused the price of petroleum to collapse from more than $100 a barrel last summer to barely $50 a barrel at the end of 2014. The effect has been to reverse an uptick in U.S. inflation earlier in the year.
According to Oliver Cooke, a financial-services recruiter at Selby Jennings in New York, banks have been stressing what they call “internal mobility”, or redeploying staff from one department to another. If a bank facing sluggish conditions in debt trading, for example, can convert a trader to a risk analyst or a compliance officer, it can keep people interested — and it can save a bundle on severance.
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Use a 0% APR promotion. Some credit cards offer an introductory 0% APR promotion to new cardholders, waiving interest charges on purchases, balance transfers or both transactions for a set period.
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Volatility in currency markets is also likely to be a factor for agricultural commodity prices in the next 12 months, with the euro likely to depreciate as a result of French, Dutch and German elections, Rabobank reckons.
In contrast to last year when the vast majority of economists expected the ECB to launch full-scale quantitative easing, just under half of the 33 respondents thought the ECB would do nothing this year. The rest said the ECB would expand QE or cut interest rates, although some of those who expected more easing stressed that the central bank was unlikely to radically reshape its existing policy response.
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The company is hardly alone in its efforts to woo talent of a different sort. Earlier this year Intel announced a collaboration with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, or CFDA, kicking off a partnership with the high-concept retailer Opening Ceremony to design its smart bracelet. Tory Burch partnered with Fitbit to design pendants and bracelets akin to the Shine Tracker by Misfit Wearables. And Apple AAPL -1.03% has tapped a diverse group of people, including former Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts (to lead its retail efforts), former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve, and former Nike NKE -0.71% design director Ben Shaffer.
On Saturday night they sang Stars from Les Miserables, the song performed the character Javert in the long-running musical.
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The government-sponsored students have signed an agreement that says they are required to reimburse the government if they do not return home after completing their studies, said Xiong Binqi, vice president of 21st Century Education Research Institute.
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Forgo certain activities. Because many cards charge fees for balance transfers, cash advances and foreign purchases, consider refraining from these activities, or try to find a card that waives these fees.
Some balance transfer credit cards, for instance, will waive the balance transfer fee for new cardholders for a short period. Also, many travel credit cards don't charge a foreign transaction fee.
Always Read the Fine Print
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