Skip to main content

Low interest credit cards - how to make them work for you

Credit cards are borrowing instruments, unlike debit cards where you already have the money. Banks are there to make money too. Just like high street stores, they hope to maximise their profits within the rules. So it’s important to understand the basics and find a credit card that’s right for you – you can compare low APR credit cards here.

Now you know the rules, let’s find out how to play the game. The financial services industry charges interest on the money that it lends out. Let us assume you borrow £100 on your credit card and keep it for exactly one year before you pay it back. For the purposes of this article, we will assume your loan attracts 8% interest per year, which is the Annual Percentage Rate, or APR for that particular transaction.
Practical example

If you paid the loan back in one go at the end of year one, you would owe them £108. That is, your original £100 plus 8%. The bank will likely ask you to pay the interest monthly though. Divide £8 by 12 months, and you get 67 pence a month (well 66.66 pence if you insist). If you decide to repay the loan back after six months – but paid no monthly interest – then you will owe them £104. When you think about it, the APR will still be 8% per full year.

Let us try something different. Suppose you paid back £50 after 6 months. In this case, your situation would look like this:

• First six months, interest added £4 (capital sum £100)

• Second six months, interest added £2 (capital sum £50)

The total interest of £6 you pay is only 6% of the money you originally borrowed. But then, you did give them back £50 halfway through, which is why there is a saving of £2 overall. Moreover, you only have to scratch around for £52 at the end of the loan period. It always makes sense to pay a loan off quicker.
Penalty interest

Of course, if you fall behind on monthly interest payments (or fail to pay the loan back on time with interest) then the situation will look different. Now here is a hot tip. Some card firms with the lowest advertised APRs charge the highest penalty interest rates, if you are late with payments. So pick your service provider with your own plan in mind.

Using a credit card for purchases

Pretty much the same logic applies: if you keep up with payments and do not overspend, your situation should stay under control. If you do not though, the interest can spiral out of control to the extent that you can hardly keep up with it. Yet another good reason not to use your credit card for luxuries like beer and holidays.

Is the lowest APR the best?

Not necessarily. Here are some tips that will help you make the right and most informed decision:

• Only half the customers that apply get advertised APRs. Learn to look for terms like “representative” and “average” in advertisements.

• In practice, credit card firms do creditworthy checks, analyse our individual payment records, and then apply an APR that balances out their risk.

• Be wary of choosing a particular card because of the “free” add-on rewards. You have to spend money to qualify for them, meaning they’re not free after all.

• Aim to pay for your purchases every month, and repay your loans on time. If you do not, be sure to compare the penalty interest rates you will end up paying.

So is a credit card a bad thing?

Definitely not, credit cards have many benefits. These include a plan in hand for unplanned expenses and detailed statements so we can see where every pound we spend goes. That said it is important to use a credit card responsibly, so you stay out of financial trouble, and avoid that dreaded bad credit record.
Finally, a quick word on whether to have a credit card at all. In the UK, you can seldom borrow money if you do not have a record of previous credit. This can be a real bind when you need a mortgage to buy a house. A clean credit card is the perfect way to build your reputation. Just choose the APR most suitable for you.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why it’s important to save for retirement

While retirement may seem far off in the distance for some, financial experts say you’re never too young to begin saving.  In fact, the earlier you calculate your retirement needs and start building your nest egg, the easier it will be to create a viable plan for the future. Many experts advise you begin saving a percentage of your income for retirement as soon as possible, no matter how little the contribution may be, as it’s possible the Social Security benefits millions of people currently depend on may be in jeopardy.

Basics of Stock Markets: The A-Z Quick Sheet for a Beginner-Level Investor

Several individuals wish to engage themselves in stock market and invest their money in stocks, but they don’t have an idea about Stock markets and how they work . In fact, there may be lot of info available to you, but they may all seem confusing without actually knowing the basics. This post aims at educating the beginners about the basics of stocks market. Read on to enlighten yourself about the A-Z of stock market. 

Looking For Ways To Finance Your Next Building Project? Look No Further

If you need money to start your next building project, you may be quite surprised by the number of different options you have. However, the options that will actually be available to you will depend on many different factors and these factors will decide how eligible for construction finance you are. In this short article, we will look at what you can borrow, how you can borrow, and what restrictions you might come across. Please note that while the information in this post is correct, your own personal situation will determine what the best course of action is for you. Speaking to an independent financial advisor will help you to see if you are eligible for construction finance and how to go about getting it. Different Types of Mortgages Let’s start with the different types of mortgages that may be available to you. Remember, whether one is better for your needs than another depends on many factors. Commercial Mortgages Let’s start with commercial mortgages because they a

Four factors that have fuelled city-centre living

Urban centres have become increasingly popular in recent years as both residential locations and as commercial space. This social change has been driven by a number of factors and has been reflected in the number of new property developments springing up in major cities around the UK. As space tends to be at a premium in urban areas, it has led to the construction of a greater number of apartments; potentially fuelling interest in block of flats insurance . So why have so many people decided that an apartment in a town is a better place to live than a larger house in the country? Here are four factors that are likely to have spurred on the rush for the city...

Manage Your Student Loan Debt Better in 2015

Image via gettyimages It is usually seen that most of the students fail to manage their student loan debts efficiently after their graduation. The reason is quite simple. Most of the students spend their earnings on comfort and luxuries instead of repaying their student loan debt. It has become comparatively easy to acquire student loans. However, each one of us should keep in mind the fact that repaying loans are not easy as borrowing it. This is why there arises the need of a proper strateg y when it comes to managing your loans. It is desirable to formulate these strategies while you are still in college instead of waiting until you get a good job. If you are one of this kind, here are some easy tips for you to manage your student loan debt better:

Learn how real estate agents value properties for sale

How do you get into real estate sales? Every owner wants to sell his property for its maximum value. And all too often they end up choosing a real estate agent simply based on who gives them the highest initial valuation. However, this will be a costly mistake. How your home is valued. If you make a mistake in the estimate, it is possible that it will be sold for a price that is less than the real value of the property. On the other hand, even overpriced homes will discourage potential buyers from viewing your home. Also, high selling prices can even result in a long wait before a good deal comes in or does not sell at all. Therefore, titration is recommended as a suitable agent. Here are some things that real estate agents consider during property valuation . But, few factors real estate agents consider when valuing a property. 1. Local services:   During property valuation, one of the main factors that can drive the sale price up is the actual area where the home is located. Aspects