10/21/2014

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Consumer

The dangers of just making minimum payments on credit cards

The dangers of just making minimum payments on credit cards
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When money is tight and the credit card bill arrives, it's mighty tempting to simply make the minimum payment.

It's may make you feel like you're using the bank's money to cover those purchases -- but in reality, you're paying more in the long run.

"The longer the clock ticks, the longer you're paying interest and the more money it's costing you to make that purchase," said Harvey Warren, consumer expert and author of the book "Drop Debt."

"That $10 purchase you made paid back in minimums becomes a $13 to $14 purchase, depending on how long it takes you to pay it back," he adds.

When the amount is higher, the numbers can be staggering.

Let's say you have a $5,000 balance on a credit card with a 15% APR. Make a typical minimum payment each month and it will take you nearly 10 years to pay off that debt. During that time, you will rack up interest payments of $2,180.

"Cash is always the smartest way to purchase, but if you're going to use your credit card for convenience or reward points, pay it off as quickly as you can," Warren said.

More information:
Bankrate.com: Credit Card Calculator
Bankrate.com: Credit Card Minimum Payment Calculator
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