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How to work out when you’ll clear your credit card
Want to work out how long it will take to clear your credit card balance? Well, it can be tricky when you have to include any interest and fees.
Luckily, we have a credit card calculator that can do all the difficult sums for you. And by giving you a date by which you’ll have cleared your credit card, you can work out whether to start paying more.
Let’s take a closer look.
How long will it take?
To work out how long it will take to clear your credit card balance, simply enter into the calculator the current balance and APR, along with how much you’re paying towards it each month. It will then tell you how many months and years it will take to clear your balance if you don’t change your current monthly payments.
Of course, this result assumes that you won’t spend any more on your credit card. If you do, your balance will increase and it could take longer to clear.
Why’s it useful to know?
So why does it matter how long it will take you to clear your balance? Well, the thing is you pay for the privilege of borrowing on a credit card, and the longer you take to clear your balance the more you may end up paying to spend with it.
When you spend on your credit card, you’re charged interest on the balance. If you clear that balance in full every month, you won’t have to pay interest – but if you don’t and you only repay some of what you spent, you will also need to pay interest.
Each month, this interest adds up – and the longer you have an outstanding balance, the more interest you’ll need to pay. So it makes sense to pay as much as you can towards your credit card bill so you can clear your balance sooner.
What about the minimum payment?
Your minimum credit card payment is what you must pay – but that doesn’t mean that’s all you should pay. In fact, you can pay as much as you want towards your credit card balance each month, as long as it’s at least the minimum.
The minimum payment on credit cards can be extremely small. It might be around just £5 a month, or 1% of your outstanding balance. Either way, it’s not much.
So far, so good – you get to spend as much as you like with your credit card (providing you don’t exceed your credit limit), and pay it back at a rate of just £5 a month. However, you’ll end up spending a lot overall if you do it this way.
In fact, by paying no more than the minimum every month, you could end up spending hundreds of pounds – or even thousands of pounds – on interest in the time it takes you to clear your balance.
Is there another way?
Yes – you can start to pay more. Now you know how much just paying the minimum could end up costing you, it’s worth taking a look at your budget and seeing if you can afford to pay more.
Paying more towards you credit card bill means you’ll pay off the balance sooner. This means you won’t pay as much interest as you would if you stick to the minimum. And of course, it goes without saying, but try not to keep spending on your credit card while you’re attempting to clear the balance, as it will simply take you longer.
Using our credit card calculator, you can enter how quickly you would like to clear your credit card balance. The calculator will then tell you how much you need to pay each month to do this (and again, this is assuming you don’t spend any more on your credit card).
Knowing how much your credit card is costing you could be all the motivation you need to clear it sooner. And once your balance is zero, try to pay off your bill in full each month. That way you won’t have to worry about the interest piling up.