Almost all credit cards feature up to a certain number of interest-free days when you pay your closing balance in full by the statement due date. This gives you a way to avoid paying interest on new purchases while still enjoying the convenience, and often rewards, of a credit card. Read this guide to find out how this feature works and other factors to consider when you want to avoid interest charges.
Comparison of 55 days interest-free credit cards
Why should I pay by balance in full each month?
Credit cards are designed to work as a short-term cash flow solution. You can avoid paying anything extra (other than the product’s annual fee, if it has one) when you pay the full balance by the due date and only use your credit card to make purchases. Up to 55 days is the standard interest-free period for credit cards, although some may offer a longer or shorter interest-free period. If you have a credit card with up to 62 days interest-free, you have 2 months to pay back the balance without incurring additional interest charges. Note that to get access to this feature, you must not carry a balance from the previous statement period.
What does up to 55 days interest-free really mean?
How much will I have to pay each month?
The minimum repayment is what you must pay back each month, and this usually ranges from 2-3% of the total account balance. If you don’t pay this amount, your credit card provider may charge a late payment fee. 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 will vary based on how many purchases you have made on the card during the statement cycle.
For 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 would be $60. If you wanted to avoid interest charges, you would have to pay the full $2,000 off the account 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.
How much could I save in interest by paying my balance in full?
Michelle has a Westpac Low Rate Card with an outstanding balance of $3,000. The debt accrues interest at the purchase rate, which is 13.74% p.a., and she must repay 2% every month. If she doesn’t make the minimum repayment, Westpac charges a late payment fee of $15.
- Minimum repayment only. If Michelle only pays the minimum amount each month, it will take her 16 years and 4 months to pay off the balance. It will also cost her $2,980 in interest.
- Paying more than the minimum. If Michelle increases her payments to $100 each month, she will save $2,351 in interest repayments. She will also pay off the debt in 3 years and 1 month, or 13 years earlier than if she only made minimum payments.
Here are tips for paying 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 directly debited each month. You can also set up autopay by calling your financial institution.
- Change your statement date. It is possible to change when you’re billed by the bank so that it lines 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. You can change your statement issue date and minimum repayment due date by calling your financial institution.
- 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.
- Create a budget. 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.
- Use a savings account. Open a 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.
How to pay your credit card bill on time
If you have credit card debt you’re struggling to pay down, a balance transfer can also save you money on interest repayments. A balance transfer promotion gives you a special interest rate for a limited period of time. You can use the promotional period to pay off as much of your credit card balance as you can before the promotional interest rate reverts to the purchase or cash advance rate of interest. But if you don’t have existing credit card debt, paying the balance in full by the due date will help you avoid extra charges so that the card you choose works for you.Back to top
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