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.
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
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The ranking is based on surveys of schools and alumni who graduated in2011. This edition gives a snapshot of alumni’s situation compared with when they started the programme.
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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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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Columbia Pictures克里斯蒂安?贝尔、艾米?亚当斯和布莱德利?库珀在电影《美国骗局》中早在1月份闹片荒的时候，人们不会想到今年会迎来如此多好电影。不仅如此，有几部影片甚至达到了被我们在心目中理想化了的那些老电影的水准。今年有两部电影脱颍而出。纯娱乐片方面，赢家显然是《美国骗局》(American Hustle)，这部由大卫?欧?拉塞尔(David O. Russell)执导的影片讲述了上个世纪七十年代的行骗高手和他们的微妙骗术的故事，幽默诙谐，令人捧腹。而从创新角度看，《地心引力》(Gravity)的全新拍摄技术给观众带来了新的观影体验。人们普遍认为《美国骗局》无可挑剔，这部疯狂喜剧片是一部时代佳作。我个人则认为，《地心引力》是今年的最佳影片。
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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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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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该书作者马丁輠祹(Martin Ford)周二在纽约的颁奖典礼上获得了英国《金融时报》和麦肯锡(McKinsey & Company)颁发的3万英镑奖金。
Take targeted and powerful measures to strengthen areas of weakness.