Most people use credit cards, but do they understand the charges involved?
Apparently not. The figures show that 50% of card users only pay the minimum balance every month.
A typical scenario may start with you receiving a credit card offer in the mail: borrow up to $2000 and pay only $40 a month. The interest at 18% ( could easily be higher) but the payment is still only $40 a month. Sounds like a great deal! You’ve been thinking of buying a new big screen TV for ages, and now you can have it all for only $40 a month. Who COULDN’T afford this, right?
Before you sign that offer and run out to purchase your new TV, let’s look at the mathematics and see how long it will take you to pay off this purchase at $40 per month, what you’ll end up paying in interest, how long it will take to pay off the balance, and the total amount you’ll end up paying for your $2000 TV.
The minimum monthly payment on most credit cards is usually calculated as a certain percentage (often around 2 percent) of your total balance.
Remember, however, that this payment includes interest as well as payments against the principal amount that you borrowed.
On the $2000 TV, 2 percent of the balance is $40. At 18 percent interest, your $40 payment would include $30 in interest and only $10 towards the amount you borrowed (18% divided by 360 days = 0.05% per day times 30 days in a month times $2000 outstanding balance equals 30 in interest).
If you pay the minimum balance each month (calculated as 2% of your outstanding balance), it will take you over 30 years to pay off your $2000 TV, which will be gone long before it’s paid for. What’s worse, you’ll have paid nearly $5,000 in interest. The $2000 TV will have cost you nearly $7000!
To make matters even worse, think of what you would have earned if you had simply put $40 a month into an investment earning a conservative 8 percent for the same number of years (30). Your 40 a month would be worth over $60,000 and you would have earned almost $46,000 in interest on your investment.
Many people get caught up in credit card offers that are “too good to pass up.” The question is: “good for whom?” Certainly not good for you! The example of the TV purchase illustrates the extremely high cost of paying the minimum balance on your credit cards.
The Independent on Line 19 Feb 2006 confirms this with their statement:-
Separate studies reveal that a 2,000 credit card debt at an APR of 15.9, repaid at only the minimum 2 per cent, would take more than 28 years to clear!
USwitch spokesman Nick White said:-
“Today, there’s the possibility that some people could finish off paying their mortgage before their credit cards.
“While low, affordable minimum monthly repayments are marketed as being a benefit to cardholders, this benefit is a big money-spinner for the banks.”
It’s a real eye-opener!
So do take care,