Make Wiser Credit Card Payments With Our Credit Card Calculators
Credit cards these days are as common as wallets and purses — maybe more common, since many consumers have more than one credit card. Such immediate purchasing power comes in handy when you want to buy something at a moment's notice, but factoring in even the minimum credit card payments can also complicate your monthly efforts to balance your household budget.
Fortunately, FreeScore's Credit Card Principal/Interest Calculator and Minimum Payment Interest Calculator, available below, can help you determine how much of your credit card payment in any given month will go toward paying off your principal debt versus just the interest charges — and how much it will cost you in the long run if you make only the minimum required payments each month.
Knowing these amounts is vital when you're trying to manage your finances. Your goal, of course, is to keep your interest payments as low as possible, but that's often easier said than done. Our credit card calculators offer you a quick, easy way to figure out just how much your reliance on credit cards can cost you if you don't pay off your balance in full each month.
Credit card payments play a critical role in your credit score, of course, which in turn are a huge factor in determining the interest rates you receive on loans, credit cards, and other lines of credit. If you fail to make even one payment, it can have a damaging effect on your credit score, in addition to the fees and penalties your credit card issuer will charge you. On the other hand, establishing an unbroken history of on-time payments can help you avoid those fees and penalties as well as the higher interest rates typically assigned to low-credit-score consumers.
It's also important to remember that your credit card interest payments don't make any money for you; they're just a cost of doing business with credit card companies. The more interest you pay, the more money they make — and the less money you have to pay your other bills. In fact, the monthly minimum payment that your credit card company requests might be seen as a lure designed to hook you into increasing your long-term interest payments.
Let's say, for instance, that you have an outstanding balance of $2,000 on an 18% interest-rate credit card. If you were to make a fixed minimum payment of $50 each month, it would take you more than five years to pay off your $2,000 principal debt — and you'd pay an additional $1,077 just in interest charges.
As you can see, you'd pay more than half the amount of the principal debt in interest charges alone, which is why you need to calculate how big a credit card payment you can afford to make each month. Of course, credit card payments are only one part of your overall household budget, and virtually every monthly payment plays a role in your credit score, so you need to be able to strike a balance between short-term pain and long-term gain.
Only you can decide how much you can afford to pay every month above the required minimum credit card payments, but our Credit Card Principal/Interest Calculator and Minimum Payment Interest Calculator can help you determine what that amount is.
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