If you are worried about how your interest rates are affecting your credit card debt, worry no more! Here is a credit card interest rate calculator to get on track in no time.

If you’re currently carrying a large balance on one or more credit cards, interest will be the largest expense you’ll pay on the card. How quickly you can pay it off will have a major impact on how much you’ll save in the long run. 

That’s why the Credit Card Interest Rate Calculator in this article can help. It will show you how much interest you’ll pay on your credit card balance based on your credit card interest rate and monthly payment.

But perhaps even more important, it will show you how you can reduce your total interest costs by making higher monthly payments, and paying off the balance more quickly.

Credit Card Interest Rate Calculator

How the Credit Card Interest Rate Calculator works

I understand how difficult it can be to know exactly how much interest you’re paying on your credit card. That’s why this calculator is especially helpful. It’s designed to show how much interest you’ll pay on your credit card balance based on either your average monthly payment or on a specific number of months to pay it off.

You’ll start by entering your Current Credit Card Balance and Current Credit Card APR.

You’ll then be given the choice to either calculate by average monthly payment, or to calculate by months to pay off. 

If you choose Calculate by average monthly payment, you’ll also need to enter the average monthly payment you’re making on the card. Hit Calculate, and the Calculator will provide the Total Credit Card Interest Charges you’ll pay between now and the time the card is paid off.

If you choose Calculate by months to pay off, you can determine your interest costs based on a very specific payoff term. This option allows you to select anywhere between one and 98 months. Choose the number of months you plan to pay off your card within, then press Calculate. The Calculator will show the total interest you’ll pay between now and when the card is paid off. 

Naturally, the fewer months required to pay off the card, the less you’ll pay in interest. I hope the Calculate by months to pay off option will show you the benefits of paying off your credit card balance early.

Equipped with the real interest cost you’re paying on your current card, you’ll be in a better position to take advantage of the credit card offers provided below.

Credit cards that offer low interest 

As a bonus to the Credit Card Interest Rate Calculator, here are a couple of cards I recommend.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Regular APR: 18.24% - 25.24% Variable   
    on purchases and balance transfers.           
  • Annual fee: $95. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a regular 18.24% - 25.24% Variable interest rate, which isn’t bad, especially if you qualify for the lower end of that rate. 

In addition, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card boasts a great sign-up bonus: you get 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account (that’s worth $750 when you redeem rewards through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, or $600 in cash back).

And, if you travel a lot, this is the card for you. Cardholders get 2x points on travel and dining! On top of that, you will also get 25% more redemption value when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

How credit card interest works

The vast majority of credit cards use variable interest rates. In most cases, your rate is determined by the prime rate plus a margin.

In reality, there are several margins. The interest rate you’ll be charged will be based on your creditworthiness. The margin will fluctuate based on your credit.

For example, a credit card issuer may have a rate range between 15.24% and 25.24%. If you fit the qualifications for the best credit profile, your rate will be 15.24%. If you’re at the opposite end of the spectrum, it will be as high as 25.24%.

You should also be aware that many credit cards have more than one interest rate. For example, they may charge between 14.99% and 24.99% for purchases. But there may be a slightly higher range for balance transfers, and a higher one still for cash advances.

Most credit card issuers also have a default APR, which is generally 29.99%. That’s the rate you’ll pay if you exceed the maximum allowable number of late payments within a given timeframe.

This is the strategy I recommend. If you pay your entire credit card balance in full each month, you’ll never pay interest. In that case, it won’t matter what your interest rate is. But just as important, you’ll get the full benefit of any sign-up bonuses or ongoing cash rewards, points, or miles offered by the card. 

Difference between zero interest and low interest

Let’s start with this fundamental reality: there really are no true zero interest credit cards.

When I refer to zero interest credit cards, what I’m really talking about are cards that offer a 0% introductory APR feature as part of the card program.

For example, a credit card might have a regular interest rate range from 14.99% to 25.99% variable APR, based on your creditworthiness. That will be preceded by a 0% introductory APR that may last from 12 to 18 months. The 0% APR can apply to purchases, balance transfers, or both.

But once the 0% introductory APR offer expires, any existing balance – in addition to future purchases, cash advances, or balance transfers – will be subject to the regular APR.

By contrast, low-interest credit cards have a low regular APR. They may or may not have a 0% introductory APR, but you’ll pay a lower interest rate on any outstanding balance than you will on the regular rate on many zero interest credit cards.

Is your credit card costing you too much?

The answer to this question depends on two factors:

  1. The interest rate and fees charged by your credit card.
  2. Your usage of the card.

Interest rates and fees typically included with credit cards are as follows:

  • Interest rate (including introductory APR, purchase rate, and rate on balance transfers and cash advances).
  • Balance transfer and cash advance fees (typically between 3% and 5% of the amount transferred).
  • Annual fee.
  • Foreign transaction fee (typically 3% of the amount of the transaction in U.S. dollars).
  • Late charges.

Apart from the charges by a particular credit card issuer, exactly how much you’ll pay for any of these costs will depend on how you use the card.

For example, if you normally carry a balance on your credit card, you’ll pay interest each and every month. But if you pay your balance in full each month, there’s usually no interest charge.

If you make frequent use of balance transfers or cash advances, you’ll pay the 3% or 5% fee on each transaction. In addition, many credit cards charge higher interest rates for balance transfers and especially for cash advances. Foreign transaction fees will depend on how frequently you use your card outside the U.S.

Finally, you’ll never pay a late charge if you always make your monthly payment on time. But if you occasionally miss a payment deadline – even by one day – you’ll incur a late charge.

As you can see, whether or not your credit card is costing you too much depends as much on how you use it, as it does on the interest rate and fee structure charged by the card issuer.

Summary

If you’ve been struggling with high-interest credit cards, the Calculator will show you exactly how much you’re paying in dollars for that interest. Once you see that, I hope you’ll take advantage of one of the cards offered above; you may have a lower regular APR than you do on your current card. 

Do some serious number crunching with the Calculator, then choose the card that will help you out of your high-interest credit card.

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About the author

Total Articles: 153
Since 2009, Kevin Mercadante has been sharing his journey from a washed-up mortgage loan officer emerging from the Financial Meltdown as a contract/self-employed “slash worker” – accountant/blogger/freelance web content writer – on Out of Your Rut.com. He offers career strategies, from dealing with under-employment to transitioning into self-employment, and provides “Alt-retirement strategies” for the vast majority who won’t retire to the beach as millionaires. He also frequently discusses the big-picture trends that are putting the squeeze on the bottom 90%, offering work-arounds and expense cutting tips to help readers carve out more money to save in their budgets – a.k.a., breaking the “savings barrier” and transitioning from debtor to saver. He’s a regular contributor/staff writer for as many as a dozen financial blogs and websites, including Money Under 30, Investor Junkie and The Dough Roller.