A Quick Guide to Understanding Credit Card Interest

According to LendingTree, credit card debt in the US reached $986 billion in 2023. Credit card interest is really getting to people.

The staggering numbers of credit card debt can certainly be overwhelming. The key to keeping your part of that grand total manageable is understanding how credit card interest works.


Having a solid grasp on the interworkings of credit card interest will help you use your credit card better. This quick guide will get you started.

credit card interest
Credit Card Interest

How Is Credit Card Interest Calculated?

When using a credit card, or thinking about applying for one, you should understand how the interest on the account is calculated according to the terms of your issuer. Most cards are calculated annually, which is what appears on your statement. But you should be more focused on your daily charge.

As we have seen, cards calculate anything from 14.1% to 35% interest annually. First of all, divide your annual interest rate by 365 days in a year. For example, if your interest comes to $0.11, that’s how much interest you’ll incur per day.


Multiply that with your balance and see how much that amounts to. For example, if your balance was $200; the next day, you’ll be at $200.11. By the end of the month, if you have no extra charge, your bill is $203.30.

Investing or Paying Interest?

Most investors struggle with the idea of whether to pay their interest or use the money to invest. But is it right to make significant investments and not pay off your credit card? Here’s the deal, incurring massive interest on your credit card, whether or not you’re making significant moves towards investments, can turn out to be costly.

Holding on to a high credit card balance can affect your investments in the long run. Unless you’re a world-class investor and you can pay it all off after a considerable trade, it’s a risk. But it all comes down to the fact that you should at least pay the interest rather than try to hold out for a huge payday to pay everything at once.


Pay a Bit More Than the Minimum Monthly Payment

To stay above the balance growing month after month by only making the minimum payment, try to pay double the payment required. This will help you cut down on your interest over the year.

However, don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t make this happen every month. Life is unpredictable and we all have our months where budgets are tight or we fall behind. The key is to pay what you can when you can, no matter how big or how small the payment is.


Credit cards have become essential to our everyday lives. A quick guide to understanding credit card interest can save you years of turmoil and huge amounts of debt. In interest terms, remember that every little bit that you put in to cut off your interest counts.