# How Interest Works on Credit Cards

How Interest Works on Credit Cards, by Chase. Find out how credit card interest is calculated and what factors affect your interest rate.

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## What is Interest?

Interest is the price charged for borrowing money. The rate of interest is usually given as a percentage of the amount of money borrowed. When you use a credit card, you are borrowing money from the credit card company. The company charges you interest on the money you borrowed.

### How is interest charged on credit cards?

Interest on credit cards is typically charged at a much higher rate than other types of loans. For example, a mortgage might have an interest rate in the single digits, whereas a credit card could have an interest rate of 15% or more. The high interest rates reflect the fact that credit card debt is unsecured debt, meaning there’s no collateral backing up the loan in case you default.

Typically, interest is charged on a daily basis, and it’s important to know how your credit card issuer calculates interest so you can minimize the amount of interest you’re charged. Many issuers use what’s called the average daily balance method to calculate interest. With this method, your credit card issuer takes the beginning balance for each day in the billing cycle, adds any new charges or payments made during that day, and then comes up with the average daily balance. To calculate the interest charge, the issuer then multiplies the average daily balance by the daily periodic rate (which is determined by dividing your APR by 365) and the number of days in the billing cycle.

Here’s an example: let’s say you have a \$1,000 balance on your credit card with a 15% APR and a 30-day billing cycle. During that billing cycle, you make no new purchases and you don’t pay off any of your debt. Using the average daily balance method described above, here’s how your issuer would calculate your interest charge:
\$1,000 x .15% (0.0015) x 30 days = \$4.50
Therefore, you would be charged \$4.50 in interest for that billing cycle.

Paying attention to how your issuer calculates interest can help you save money and keep your debt under control. If possible, try to pay off your balance before each billing cycle ends so you’re not charged any interest at all.

### What is the average interest rate on credit cards?

According to the Federal Reserve, the average interest rate on credit cards was around 15% in 2018. However, this number can vary depending on the type of card you have and your credit history. For example, cards for people with good credit tend to have lower interest rates than those for people with bad credit. Additionally, some cards come with introductory rates that are lower than the average 15%. However, these rates usually only last for a few months before going up to the normal rate.

## How to Avoid Interest Charges

If you carry a balance on your credit card from one month to the next, you will be charged interest on that balance. The amount of interest you’re charged is based on your annual interest rate, which is the interest rate you’re charged for the year. For example, if your annual interest rate is 18%, you’ll be charged 1.5% interest each month on any outstanding balance.

### Pay your balance in full each month

To avoid being charged interest on your credit card purchases, you will need to pay your balance in full each month. This means that you will need to know what your balance is and make a payment that is equal to or greater than this amount.

If you are not able to pay your balance in full each month, you should consider a different way to pay for your purchases, such as a personal loan or a 0% APR credit card.

Paying your balance in full each month is the best way to avoid interest charges on your credit card purchases.

### Use a 0% APR credit card

There are a few different ways to avoid interest charges on your credit card. One way is to use a 0% APR credit card. This type of card usually offers a 0% introductory APR for a set period of time, usually 12 months. This means that you will not be charged any interest on your purchases during that time. After the intro period ends, the APR will revert back to the standard rate, which is often higher than the rate on other cards.

Another way to avoid interest charges is to pay your balance in full every month. If you do this, you will not be charged any interest at all. Some cards offer a grace period, which means that you have a certain number of days after your billing cycle ends to pay your balance in full before interest is charged.

You can also avoid interest charges by using a balance transfer credit card. This type of card allows you to transfer the balance from one credit card to another with a lower interest rate. This can help you save money on interest charges, but it is important to make sure that you understand the terms and conditions before you agree to anything.

Finally, some cards offer rewards programs that allow you to earn points or cash back on your purchases. These rewards can be used to offset the cost of interest charges.

### Transfer your balance to a lower interest rate card

Transfers typically must be made within 60 days to qualify for the introductory rate; otherwise, you’ll pay the going rate on the balance. Check the card’s terms to see how long the 0% interest lasts; it’s usually 12 to 18 months. Keep in mind that you may have to pay a balance transfer fee, typically 3% of the amount transferred.

## How to Make Interest Work for You

Interest on credit cards can feel like a necessary evil. After all, it’s how the credit card companies make their money. But if you understand how interest works, you can actually use it to your advantage. In this article, we’ll explain how interest works on credit cards and how you can use it to your advantage.

### Use a rewards credit card

Utilizing a rewards credit card is one of the smartest things you can do with your money. However, in order to really benefit, you need to make sure you’re using your rewards credit card wisely. By being strategic about when and how you use your rewards credit card, you can earn points, cash back, or even travel miles that you can put towards your next vacation.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using a rewards credit card:

– Use your rewards credit card for all of your regular expenses, such as groceries, gas, and utilities. This will help you rack up points quickly.
– Pay off your balance in full every month to avoid interest charges.
– If you have multiple credit cards, use the one with the best rewards program for larger purchases. For example, if you have a cash back program and a mileage program, use the cash back program for groceries and the mileage program for airfare.

### Use a cash back credit card

If you have debt on a high-interest credit card, one way to pay off that debt quicker is to transfer the balance to a new credit card with a 0% introductory APR offer. Once you’ve transferred your balance, your focus should be on paying as much as possible each month until the debt is repaid in full.

Another way to make interest work for you is to use a cash back credit card for all of your purchases. These cards earn rewards based on the amount you spend, which you can then redeem for cash back or other rewards. By using a cash back card, you can earn money back on every purchase you make. Just be sure to pay your balance in full each month so you don’t incur any interest charges.

### Use a balance transfer credit card

A balance transfer card can be a great way to save on interest and pay down your debt faster. But how does it work? Essentially, you’re transferring the balance of one credit card to another credit card with a lower interest rate. This can help you save on interest, which means more of your payment will go toward paying down your principal balance.

There are a few things to keep in mind when considering a balance transfer credit card. First, most cards come with a balance transfer fee, typically 3-5% of the total amount transferred. This fee is charged by the new card issuer and is separate from any fees charged by your old card issuer. Second, you’ll need to have good credit to qualify for the best balance transfer offers. And finally, be sure to read the fine print before you apply. Some cards come with introductory 0% APR periods, but revert back to a higher rate after 12-18 months.

If you’re ready to take advantage of a balance transfer offer, here are a few things to keep in mind:

-First, make a list of all the debts you want to pay off with the new card. This will help you determine how much you need to transfer.
-Next, compare offers from multiple issuers to find the best deal. Be sure to compare interest rates, fees, and terms before you apply.
-Once you’ve found the right card, contact your old issuer and request a balance transfer form. Fill out the form and send it back to your old issuer with an authorized payment from your new account.
-Finally, start making payments on your new account and be sure to pay off your debt before the intro period expires!