Estimate how much you need to pay each month to become debt-free.
Paying your card statement’s minimum each month can keep your account in good standing. But without contributing more, it could take years to pay down your balance to zero. And it can lead to ongoing credit card debt and steep unnecessary interest over the long term.
Use our calculator to learn how long you might need to pay off your debt with minimum payments — and how much more can better meet your payoff goals.
How to use our credit card repayment calculator
We designed our calculator to help you determine three key points to paying off your debt and see how monthly payments affect your overall interest and payoff goals.
- Input your balance details. Enter how much you owe and your interest rate to see how much you’re paying in interest each month.
- Adjust your monthly repayments. Enter your statement’s minimum to learn how long it’d take you to pay off your balance in full. Then increase the payment amount to see how much you time you can shave off by sending more.
- Narrow down a payoff goal. Enter your ideal payoff time frame in months to see how much you’d have to send monthly to reach that goal. Adjust your goal until the monthly payment also matches your budget.
Note that our calculator works only if you commit to making no new purchases on the card you’re trying to pay off. And it doesn’t include compound interest. Adding to your balance will likely increase your monthly repayments, overall interest and time to pay it off.
Credit card repayment and interest calculator
How to calculate your credit card repayment
Now that you know which numbers to put into the calculator, let’s break down how it works.
Credit card info
The Interest-only payment box might surprise you. The number you see is how much of your monthly payment goes toward interest — and not your principal. Basically, it’s how much you’re paying for the privilege of borrowing money.
Calculating credit card interest can be tedious. In case you’re curious, most card providers calculate interest based on the average daily balance method. This is what our calculator uses too.
Learn more about how the daily balance method works in our guide to credit card interest.
Calculate months to payoff
When paying off credit card debt, your money goes toward two costs: the amount you’ve charged to your card and the interest you’ve accrued.
After you input your monthly payment, you’ll see a number in the Months to payoff box. This is how long it can take to pay off both your balance and interest.
Calculate monthly payment
Here, you can input how soon you want to pay off your balance. In the box at bottom right, you’ll see how much interest you’d pay over the life of your balance.
The longer you take to pay off your balance, the more interest you accrue — which can reach half your initial amount due or more. It’s the result of compound interest, which can accumulate very quickly.
To lower your interest, pay off your balance sooner. Contribute a little more to your card payment each month.
How is credit card interest calculated?
Unlike other forms of credit that charge simple interest, credit cards accrue compound interest:
- Simple interest. Interest is charged as a fixed percentage on the principal — or the amount you borrowed initially. Regardless of how much you pay, you pay less interest on your next repayment statement as long as you haven’t added to your balance in the meantime.
- Compound interest. Interest is charged as a fixed percentage on both the principal and any interest charges you racked up in the meantime. If you’re not making large enough payments each month, you could end up paying yet more interest on your next bill — effectively paying interest on interest carried across months.
What’s the minimum I need to pay on my credit card?
Credit card companies make a lot of money on the interest you pay them. And so, they set minimum monthly repayments that make it worth their time, ranging from 2% to 3% of your closing balance and all the way up to 10%, in some cases.
Here’s an example of what you could pay with popular credit card issuers, based on the providers’ websites at the time of writing:
- American Express. The greater of $35 or 1% of your closing balance.
- Bank of America. The greater of $25 or 1% of your closing balance.
- Capitol One. The greater of $25 or 1% of your closing balance.
- Chase. The greater of $10 or 2% of your closing balance.
- Citi. The greater of $30 or 2% of your closing balance.
- Synchrony. The greater of $25 or 1% of your closing balance.
- USAA. The greater of $15 or 1% of your closing balance.
- U.S. Bank. The greater of $30 or 1% of your closing balance.
- Wells Fargo. The greater of $35 or 2% of your closing balance.
What happens if I repay only my statement’s minimum?
By repaying only the minimum monthly payment required, you end up contributing more of your money to the credit card issuer’s bottom line while chipping away at only a small percentage of your overall credit card debt. Because you’re charged compound interest on your credit card debt, you could end up paying interest on interest, ballooning your original principal over months.
In addition to the unnecessary interest you’ll end up paying back, it could take many years to clear your debt. If you continually carry a balance that takes up a large portion of your overall card limit, it might also negatively affect your credit score.
Work to pay off your balance in full. Or clear as much of the debt as you can each month to minimize interest costs.
How to maximize repayments.
Let’s say you’ve racked up $5,000 on a credit card with a 15% interest rate. Your last statement’s minimum was $100 — or the greater of $20 or 2% of your closing balance. But you’re looking to work out the most efficient way to pay down the debt.
You think you can afford $250 each month. Using our calculator, you learn how much time and simple interest you can save by increasing your monthly repayment.
|Minimum repayments||Higher repayments|
|Credit card balance||$5,000||$5,000|
|Monthly repayment amount||$100||$250|
|Total time to pay off principal||6.5 years||2 years|
|Credit card balance||—||$6,456.05|
You’d save a massive $6,456.05 in unnecessary interest on your principal with a higher repayment of $250, paying off your debt 4.5 years early.
What can I do if I’m struggling to repay my debt?
If accumulating interest is keeping you from paying off your credit card debt, consider a 0% intro balance transfer APR credit card. These cards allow you to transfer your debt to a card offering no or low interest for a promotional period.
You’ll still need to pay more than the minimum repayment to completely pay off your debt before the revert rate applies. But because you’ll pay more up front, you’ll pay less overall interest over the life of the promo — and you’ll pay off your debt faster.
Note when the introductory offer ends so that you can be back on track before the revert rate kicks in.