Get the Finder app 🥳

Track your credit score

Free

What happens when you pay your credit card balance in full?

You can say goodbye to paying interest on your credit card, avoid more debt and even improve your credit score when you pay your balance in full each month.

Updated

Fact checked

We’re committed to our readers and editorial independence. We don’t compare all products in the market and may receive compensation when we refer you to our partners, but this does not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn more about Finder .

When you get your credit card statement, you will see the account's closing balance, the date that a payment is due and the minimum amount you need to pay by that date (among other details). The closing balance on your credit card statement is the total amount owed, or what's left for you to pay off based on all the transactions and payments you have made during that statement period.

If you can afford to pay off your card's closing balance in full by the due date on your statement, you will save on interest charges – especially if you have a card that offers interest-free days on purchases. Plus, paying off your credit card could help improve your credit score by adding positive details to your payment history. Let's take a closer look at how it works in this guide.

How does paying my card's closing balance help me save on interest?

Credit card interest is typically calculated daily, based on your balance at the end of that day, and then charged to your account each month (at the end of your statement period). This means any payment you make will reduce your balance and the amount of interest that accrues on it. And when you pay your card's closing balance in full by the due date on your statement, none of those transactions will be carried over to the new statement period. You could think of it as a way of wiping the slate clean each month.

Paying off your entire credit card balance also gives you a way to avoid interest charges completely if you have a card that offers interest-free days on purchases (and plenty do). With interest-free days, the purchases you make between the start and end of your statement period will not be charged interest, as long as you pay off your full balance by the due date on your statement. If you want to learn more about how interest-free days work, this Finder guide breaks it down in detail.

How can paying my credit card's balance help my credit score?

Your credit score is based on the details listed on your credit file, including your repayment history for credit cards, loans and other credit products. Paying off your credit card (and other accounts) on time helps build up good credit history, which can also help you improve your credit score.

On the flipside, if you have late payments or defaults on your credit history, it will have a negative impact on your credit score. One important detail to be aware of with your credit card is that you only need to pay the minimum amount by the due date on your statement to meet the repayment requirements. But if you can pay more, you should do that to help reduce or avoid interest charges.

Free credit score & report

Lenders know your credit score, so why shouldn't you?

Get your credit score and comprehensive report now!

What's the difference between paying the minimum and the full balance on my card?

The minimum repayment is what you must pay back each month and it is usually 2-3% of the total account balance. Paying this will help you avoid late payment fees and bad credit history. But if you only pay the minimum amount, you will be charged interest on the balance of your account. To avoid interest, you can pay the full amount owing, which is based on how many purchases you have made on the card during the statement cycle.

As an example, let’s say you spent $2,000 on a credit card with a minimum payment of 3%. The minimum you would have to pay off your statement by the due date would be $60. But the remaining $1,940 would attract interest until you paid it all off. So if you wanted to avoid interest charges, you would have to pay off the full $2,000 by the due date on the statement. It is recommended that you pay as much of your outstanding balance as you can each month. It can take years to clear your balance by only paying the minimum amount and in some cases you may never be able to pay off your card.

Tips to help you pay your credit card balance in full

  • Set up an autopay. An automated payment from your transaction account to your credit card allows you to pay the minimum amount due, a partial amount or the whole balance every month. To set up this payment option, complete and return an automatic payment plan form to your credit card provider, including details of your chosen transaction account and the amount you want to be paid off each month. You can also set up autopay by calling your financial institution.
  • Change your statement date. Some credit card providers let you change the date that your statements are issued so that they line up with when you’re paid. For example, if you’re paid monthly on the first of the month, you could request to have your statement due date fall then or a week later so that you will have funds ready to pay it off. Call your credit card provider to discuss and set up this option.
  • Set calendar reminders. Set up reminders using your phone or computer so you never miss a payment due date. A calendar on the fridge can be a good reminder too.
  • Request a lower credit limit. This will help limit how much you spend on your credit card. Choosing a limit that you can afford to pay off each month also means you can make the most of interest-free days for your purchases.
  • Create a budget. If you want to be more hands-on, you can create a budget to find out where you can cut back on expenses in order to pay your card balance in full each month. A budget lets you see how much you have coming in and how much is going out, as well as where it all goes.
  • Set up a dedicated account. Open a transaction or savings account just for the money you plan to use on credit card repayments. A savings account will cost you nothing and you can get rewarded with bonus interest when you make regular deposits. Want to take it to the next level? If you have a mortgage with an offset account, here's how you could use it in combination with a credit card to save interest on your mortgage and your credit card.

As a general guide, if you can afford to pay your credit card balance in full each month, then it will save you money and give you the option of making interest-free purchases. But if it's not possible to pay off the entire balance, choose an amount that is affordable – even if it's only the minimum amount required. Then aim to clear the rest when you can afford to do so.

Comparison of 55 days interest-free credit cards

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$59
A low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 20 months and a $200 cashback offer.
St.George Vertigo Classic
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. promotional purchase and balance transfer rates and save with a first-year annual fee waiver.
Citi Rewards Card - Balance Transfer Offer
21.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 30 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 30 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
$129
Enjoy a 22-month balance transfer offer, travel insurance and an annual fee refund when you spend an eligible $6k/year.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% for 15 months, reverts to 10.99% p.a.
2.99% p.a. for 9 months
$49
Save with an introductory rate of 0% p.a on purchases for 15 months and 2.99% p.a. on balance transfers for 9 months.
Citi Rewards Card - $500 Voucher Offer
21.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$99 annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Get a $500 e-voucher to spend at Myer, JB Hi-Fi or Coles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, earn points with the Citi Rewards Program.
Qantas Premier Platinum
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$199 annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
Get 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, 75 bonus Status Credits and a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 18 months (with a one-time 1% BT fee).
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
$64 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. for 22 months on balance transfers and a reduced first-year annual fee. Plus, earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
0% for 15 months, reverts to 11.99% p.a.
13.99% p.a.
$45
Get 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 15 months and a $150 Woolworths Supermarket gift card when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days.
Coles Low Rate Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$58
Finder Exclusive. Ends 29 October 2020
Receive $100 off a Coles Supermarket shop when you make an eligible purchase within the first 30 days. Plus, a 0% balance transfer offer.
Citi Clear Card
0.9% for 15 months, reverts to 14.99% p.a.
0.9% p.a. for 15 months
$99
Save with 0.9% p.a. for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. Plus, complimentary purchase insurance cover.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
0% for 15 months, reverts to 12.99% p.a.
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
$49 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Features an introductory 0% p.a. purchase rate, $49 first year annual fee and complimentary travel insurance covers.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
$195
Get $150 back when you spend at least $1,500 within the first 3 months. Plus, receive $200 Travel Credit each year.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a on balance transfers for 25 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. for 7 months on purchases, 0% p.a. interest for 22 months on balance transfers and a $0 first-year annual fee.
St.George Amplify Platinum
0% for 7 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. interest rates on purchases and balance transfers. Plus a $0 first-year annual fee.
Citi Rewards Card - flybuys Offer
21.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Receive 75,000 bonus flybuys points and a $100 Kmart eGift Card when you meet the spend requirement. Plus, a reduced first-year annual fee.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
20.74% p.a.
$0
Earn 0.75 Velocity Points on your everyday purchases, uncapped, and pay $0 annual fee for the life of the card with this no-frills frequent flyer card.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$59
Get a 0% p.a. interest rate for 20 months on balance transfers, Visa Offers + Perks and a competitive $59 ongoing annual fee.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
20.74% p.a.
$375
Get 50,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 for the first 3 months. Plus, 100 Status Credits and luxury travel perks.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
17.99% p.a.
2.99% p.a. for 9 months
$0
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$139 annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 200,000 bonus points (130k in the first year & 70k in the second year) when you spend $12k/year for the first 2 years.
BankSA Vertigo
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for up to 22 months on balance transfers and up to 7 months on purchases. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
0% for 17 months, reverts to 20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a 0% purchase rate offer for 17 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
St.George Rainbow Vertigo Platinum
0% for 15 months, reverts to 12.99% p.a.
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
$49 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
All the platinum features of the Vertigo Platinum Visa with a rainbow design in support of the LGBT community.
Suncorp Clear Options Platinum Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
$129
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, complimentary insurance covers included.
BankSA Amplify Platinum - Qantas
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$99
Receive 70,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $1,500 each month for the first 3 months. Plus a 0% balance transfer offer.
BankSA No Annual Fee
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0
Offers 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and an ongoing $0 annual fee.
St.George No Annual Fee
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, a low minimum credit limit of $500 and a long-term balance transfer offer.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Back to top

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    SallyApril 29, 2016

    I’m still confused about paying the full balance. If I have 62 days interest free (Coles Low Rate card) if I pay the full balance off, don’t I technically only have a month, as I have to pay the whole amount by the time the bill is due? How would I truly get 62 days interest free?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMay 3, 2016Staff

      Hi Sally,

      Thanks for your comment.

      To better understand the concept of interest-free days, I would like to refer you to this page. It contains a video and a graphic presentation that discuss interest-free days in full details.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  2. Default Gravatar
    KathyJune 25, 2013

    Which credit card is best with lowest annual fee, qantas frequent flyer points and travel insurance and extended warranty if i pay off every month?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JacobJune 25, 2013Staff

      Hi Kathy. Please have a look at our frequent flyer comparison page. You can sort the cards by their annual fee, rewards per dollar spent and by whether they have a balance transfer promotion. Most of these cards offer complimentary international travel insurance; however, please check the product table on the review page to see whether this benefit is included with the credit card. If you have any questions about the cards on this page, please ask us. Thanks for your question. Jacob.

  3. Default Gravatar
    VickApril 26, 2013

    Hi my commonwealth card is cancelled by my bank because I was over seas and didn’t pay repayments. I also lost my job on that time but now I’m ready to pay all instalments. Is there any way they can issue me credit card again or will it effect on me in future?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JacobApril 26, 2013Staff

      Hi Vick. Thanks for your question. You will need to discuss your options with a lender. You may also want to get a copy of your credit file. It’s not the case that when you’re ready to make repayments you can reapply for a card, the fact that you defaulted in the past is going to have a negative impact on your chances of getting another credit card. Jacob.

Credit Cards Comparison

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
0% for 12 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0
Finder Exclusive. Ends 29 October 2020
Save on new and existing interest charges with 0% interest on both balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a on balance transfers for 25 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
20.74% p.a.
$249
Enjoy 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, 50 bonus Status Credits and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
Citi Rewards Card - $500 Voucher Offer
21.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$99 annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Get a $500 e-voucher to spend at Myer, JB Hi-Fi or Coles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, earn points with the Citi Rewards Program.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

Go to site