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Credit card companies are in the business of making money and one way that they make money is by charging you interest. When you leave balances on your credit cards, the credit card company makes money by charging you an annual percentage rate on it. While it is common to pay interest on credit card debt, you don’t have to be like everyone else and you could instead avoid paying these costs. In order to avoid paying interest on credit card debt, there are a few things that you can do.
Pay Within the Interest Free Period
One of the most effective ways to avoid paying interest on credit card debt is to make your bill payments within the time limit set by the credit card company. When you purchase something on a credit card, the interest does not immediately start accruing. Typically, you can pay the balance of your credit card off within that month and you will not have to pay interest on the amount. With credit card grace periods, you may have slightly more than 30 days to pay the balance back to the credit card company if you want to avoid paying interest. If you cannot make it within the 30 day limit, try to pay it back as quickly as possible. Paying a little bit of interest for a single month is better than allowing the debt to sit on your credit card for an extended period of time.
Use 0% Balance Transfers Another way that you can avoid paying interest on credit card debt is to utilize balance transfer offers. Credit card companies are always trying to throw out deals in order to get you to open an account. You probably receive multiple credit card offers every week from these companies in the mail. If you see an offer for an introductory zero percent interest rate on balance transfers, hang onto it. Then when you are about to start paying interest on any credit card debt that you’ve accumulated, you can open a new account and transfer the balance over to it. When you open a new credit card, they typically give you some blank checks that you can use to make payments with. The amount of each check that you use will be added to the balance of your credit card account. As long as you use these checks or facilitate a balance transfer directly with the company, the debt should not accumulate interest during the introductory rate period. In some cases, you can get introductory periods of up to two years. Most cards will at least give you somewhere between six months and a year to avoid paying interest. With the large number of credit card providers out there, you could potentially keep transferring the balance from one card to another without paying any interest. If you use this strategy, you have to be careful that you don’t build up another credit card balance on the card that you transferred the initial balance away from.
Purchase on a 0% Purchase Card
More recently banks have begun offering credit cards that have not only 0% on balance transfers, but also 0% on purchases for a set period of time. This introductory offer usually only lasts a matter of months and is typically shorter than the balance transfer deal. If you are going to use your card for purchasing and you don’t want to pay any interest, then apply for a 0% purchase credit card and use it.
If you use a balance transfer offer, remember to always make your monthly minimum payments on time. If you miss even one payment or pay it late, the introductory interest rate will go away. The rate will then default to the full interest rate of the card. By using these tips, you can save yourself a lot of money that could be better spent elsewhere.
About the Author: Contributed by Chris at www.MoneyChoices.com.au, a free-to-use comparison service for consumers in Australia. Check out their guide to using low interest cards featuring an overview and detailed analysis.