You’ll see references to APR on your monthly credit card statement. The annual percentage rate (APR) refers to the interest charged on a credit account.
When it comes to credit cards, APRs are most commonly used when you have a balance, but other activities, such as cash advances and late payments, are also subject to APRs, which may be greater than your usual rate.
Anyone who uses a credit card should be aware of how APR works, when it may be applied, and how good financial practices may help you prevent it.
This is how APR works.
The interest charged on your credit card account throughout a billing cycle is referred to as the APR. For credit cards, the APR is computed as follows:
credit card interest = [daily rate] x [average daily balance] x [days in billing cycle]
Divide the purchase annual percentage rate on your credit card by 365 to get the daily rate (the number of days in a year). If your annual percentage rate is 18 percent, your daily rate is.00049 percent.
Add up your balances at the conclusion of each day of the billing cycle and divide the total by the number of days in the billing cycle to get your average daily amount. This is your daily average balance.
Days in billing cycle: Next, multiply your daily rate by your average daily balance, then multiply that sum by the number of days in the billing cycle. Most issuers compound their interest on a daily basis.
What are the many kinds of APR?
The purchase APR is the one that most people are familiar with. However, there are various different forms of APR to be mindful of.
Purchase APR: This is the interest rate that is charged on all purchases made with your card, whether they are done online, in person, or over the phone.
Introductory APR: A promotional interest rate that is lower than the card’s usual APR for a limited time, occasionally as low as 0%. It may be used for both purchases and balance transfers. When the promotional period ends, your balance will be subject to the normal APR.
Cash advance APR: This rate is often greater than your purchase APR and does not include a grace period. It’s also used to describe convenience checks.
Penalty APR: This rate applies to payments that are late or returned, and it may be as high as 29.99 percent. Before your credit card issuer eliminates the penalty APR, you may need to make multiple consecutive on-time payments. If you’re more than 60 days late on a payment, the penalty APR may be applied to your current debt as well.
Except in the case of a late payment or the expiration of an introductory promotion, a fixed APR seldom changes. A fixed-rate has the advantage of locking in your rate for a set period of time. It’s easy to budget for your payments because you know the rate will typically stay the same. Card issuers, on the other hand, can still adjust a fixed-rate at their discretion; they must only give notice. Fixed-rate credit cards are getting more difficult to come by.
Your credit card will almost certainly have a variable APR that ranges from 15.49 percent to 25.49 percent. A variable APR fluctuates based on the prime rate, which is used by lenders to establish interest rates on credit cards and other types of credit, such as loans and mortgages. While a variable rate may not provide the same level of dependability as a fixed rate, it does provide the opportunity to save money.
How much may APR interest cost you?
The good news is that if you pay your debt in full and on time every month, you won’t be charged interest. You’ll also get a grace period if you do it this way. This is a 21-day period that begins at the conclusion of the billing cycle and lasts until you have paid off your new debt in full without incurring interest charges.
However, if you have a debt on your credit card, you will be charged interest. Even if you just have a balance for one month, you’ll forfeit your grace period for the next several months. The amount of interest you pay is determined by the APR of your card, the size of your debt, and the size of your monthly payment.
Last but not least
If you have a credit card, you should be aware of what an annual percentage rate (APR) is and when it may apply to you. You won’t have to be concerned if you don’t intend to carry a balance on your credit card. Understanding your APR can make budgeting for your monthly credit card payments much easier if you find yourself needing to carry a credit card debt.