Reasons to Pay More Than the Minimum

Credit cards give you the convenience of paying just a small amount of your balance each month until the balance is completely repaid. You may be tempted to take advantage of this convenience and use your money for other goals. While the minimum payment is easier to make, it typically costs much more in the long run. Here are a few reasons you should bite the bullet and pay more than the minimum on your credit card.

1
Save Money On Interest

A woman is paying bills on a laptop
© Peter Cade / Creative RF / Getty

When you make the minimum payment, you end up paying more money in finance charges than if you reduced your balance faster by making bigger payments. You could save hundreds, possibly even thousands, in interest just by increasing your monthly credit card payments.

For example, if you have a $2,000 balance at 14% APR, paying the minimum will cost $1,833.24 in interest. If you instead send $100 a month and make no future charges, you'll only pay $290.77 in interest. (Based on Bankrate.com's Minimum Payment Calculator and minimum payment calculated at interest+1% of balance) More

2
Pay The Balance Off Sooner

Not only do you pay more in interest when you make just the minimum payment, you also end up paying the credit card balance over a longer period of time.

For example, it would take more than 14 years to pay off a $2,000 credit card balance (at 14% APR) when you only make minimum payments. On the other hand, sending $100 a month would allow you to pay the balance in just under two years (again, assuming you make no future charges on the card and your APR doesn't change).

3
Improve Your Credit Score

Credit utilization - the ratio of your credit card balance to your credit limit - is 30% of your credit score. If your credit card balance is high relative to your credit limit, it costs precious credit score points. A low credit score can make it harder to qualify for credit cards and loans.

Minimum payments only decrease your balance a small amount at a time. So if you have a high utilization, it will take several months, maybe even years, to reduce your balance and lower your utilization. Bringing your balance down faster by paying more than the minimum will help improve your credit score. More

4
Get Ready For a Mortgage

If you plan to make a home or other large credit purchase in the near future, you'll probably need to pay off some debt to qualify for a loan or to at least qualify for a competitive interest rate.

Minimum payments won't lower high credit card balances quickly enough. Raise your payments to pay off credit card balances before you make an application for a large loan. More

5
Increase Your Available Credit

Your credit cards are useless if you don't have any available credit because your balances are so high. And if your balance is slowly decreasing because you're only paying the minimum, it will be awhile before you can use your credit cards again. Pay your balance down quickly to keep your credit limit accessible.

Continue Reading...