What is a credit card minimum payment?

Find out how a minimum payment is calculated and when you need to pay.

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On every credit card statement, you will see a minimum payment. While this may not seem like much compared to your overall debt, this amount could be encouraging you to spread your repayments over a longer period and costing you more interest in the long run.

What is a minimum payment and how is it calculated?

A credit card minimum payment is exactly what it sounds like – a minimum payment you must make on your credit card bill by a certain date.

Your bank or provider will work out this payment sum based on your overall account debt and your card’s interest rate.

At the end of each billing cycle, your bank or provider will send you a bill featuring all your recent transactions. Your statement will include the total amount you owe on your credit card, total transactions made during the billing cycle and your minimum payment for that billing cycle.

Banks and credit card providers set different monthly minimum repayments, which can usually be found in your “summary box”. Under UK rules, any credit cards taken out since April 2011 must set the monthly minimum payment of at least 1% of your balance. The table below serves as an example of how a card provider calculates their minimum payment.

Minimum payment example credit card bill

How can I pay the minimum payment?

You usually have two options to pay off your credit card bill every billing cycle.

  • Direct debit. You can set up a direct debit with your bank where you can specify that you’d like to automatically pay the full balance, a fixed amount or just the minimum payment every month. By setting up a direct debit, you’ll guarantee you will never miss a payment and don’t have to worry about penalty fees and damage to your credit record.
  • Manual payments. You can decide how much you want to pay every month – whether it’s the minimum payment, the full balance or somewhere in between. You can pay your credit card company via standing order or bank transfer. This method gives you greater control over how much you are paying, but you’re more at risk of missing payments so you need to make sure you can keep track of the payment deadline.

Should I pay the minimum payment or a larger amount?

It all depends on what you can afford. At the very least, you should make the minimum payment. However, by continuing to pay only the minimum payment, you will take longer to pay off your debt and are likely to incur higher interest fees.

To avoid paying unnecessary interest, it’s a good idea to pay your entire balance, or something in between the minimum payment and your total debt.

As your outstanding debt reduces with every payment, so does the minimum payment required on every new statement. This means small balances on credit cards could take a long time to repay if you continued to make the minimum payments.

Tom has a £4,000 credit card debt

Admin assistant Tom has run up a £4,000 credit card debt, but can only afford the monthly minimum payments of £65.

If Tom continues to pay off his debt at 18.9% APR with the £65 monthly payments, it could take him 13 years to pay it off. Aside from paying back his debt amount of £4,000, he would end up spending a further £6,121 on interest.

A friend suggested he consider a balance transfer card, giving him a promotional 0% interest rate for 24 months, with a one-off fee of 1.4%. Under this offer, Tom could continue to make the monthly minimum payments of £65, but the interest break means he could pay a lot less overall and pay off his debt faster. The balance transfer offer means he could pay off his debt in 6 years and 7 months and only end up spending a further £1,169 on fees and interest. By transferring his debt to a 0% balance transfer offer, this would save Tom £4,952.

Different types of credit cards explained

Compare cards by type

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Updated April 9th, 2020
Name Product Balance transfers Balance transfer fee Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
The NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%.
0%
Transfers must be made within 3 months of account opening
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable), your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
0%
Transfers must be made within 3 months of account opening
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable), your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
first direct Credit Card Visa
0% for 27 months reverting to 18.9%
2.29% (min. £5) for 3 months reverting to 2.9% (min. £5)
18.9%
£0
18.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
HSBC Premier Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
1.4% (min. £5)
0% for 9 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9% (variable)
A selection of rewards from a range of partners. Earn 1 point for every £1 spent within the UK and earn 2 points for every £1 spent outside the UK. Points can be redeemed for shopping vouchers and frequent flyer miles.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
Santander Everyday Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
0% for 18 months reverting to 3% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership Mastercard
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
2.9% (min. £5)
0% for 9 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent in store or online at John Lewis, Waitrose and John Lewis Insurance. Earn 1 Point for every £2 spent elsewhere. Earn double points on selected insurances taken out through John Lewis Financial Services. Vouchers issued once customer reaches 500 points in Feb, Jun or Oct when vouchers are automatically issued to customers. Every 500 points is worth £5.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
Nationwide Member Credit Card Balance Transfer Offer
0% for 18 months reverting to 19.9%
1.5% (min. £5) for 3 months reverting to 2.4% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Lloyds Bank Platinum No Fee 0% Balance Transfer Mastercard
0% for 15 months reverting to 19.94%
0% for 3 months reverting to 5%
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.94%
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Halifax Longest 0% Balance Transfer Mastercard
0% for 29 months reverting to 19.95%
3% for 3 months reverting to 5%
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.95%
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Tesco Bank Clubcard Credit Card for 26 Months Balance Transfer Mastercard
0% for 26 months reverting to 21.814%
2.98% for 26 months reverting to 3.99% (min. £3)
19.944%
£0
19.9% (variable)
1 point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco. Must have available credit to earn points. Points are converted to Tesco vouchers or can be exchanged for Partner rewards to receive money off a variety of restaurants, entertainment or Avios points.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.944% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
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Updated April 9th, 2020
Name Product Purchases Balance transfers Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
Barclaycard Platinum All-Rounder Visa
0% for 27 months reverting to 21.9%
0% for 27 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9% (variable)
Buy tickets for up to 3500 selected live events through Barclaycard entertainment and get 5% off tickets per year and exclusive pre-sale tickets on selected festivals with 10% off ticket prices.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Santander All in One Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 26 months reverting to 15.9%
0% for 26 months reverting to 15.9%
£3 per month
21.7% (variable)
0.5% after £1 of monthly spend. Cashback paid Monthly into Card Account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 15.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 21.7% APR (variable).
Sainsbury's Bank Dual Offer Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 26 months reverting to 20.95%
0% for 26 months reverting to 20.95%
£0
20.9% (variable)
Earn 750 bonus Nectar points each time £35 or more spent on Sainsbury's shopping, up to ten times in your first 2 months, up to a total of 7,500 points, offer available for new customers. Earn 2 Nectar points per £1 spent on Sainsbury's shopping and fuel. Earn 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
MBNA 0% Transfer and Purchase Credit Card
0% for 26 months reverting to 20.93%
0% for 26 months reverting to 20.93%
£0
20.9% (variable)
Introductory 0% purchase offer only applies to purchases made within 60 days of opening.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.93% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Bank of Ireland UK Matched Mastercard
0% for 24 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 24 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Virgin Money 23 Month All Round Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 21.9%
0% for 23 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9% (variable)
Earn cashback when you shop online with over 500 top brands with Virgin Money Back.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Bank of Scotland Platinum 0% Purchase and Balance Transfer Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.95%
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.95%
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Barclaycard Platinum 20 Month Purchase and Balance Transfer Visa
0% for 20 months reverting to 21.9%
0% for 20 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9% (variable)
Buy tickets for up to 3500 selected live events through Barclaycard entertainment and get 5% off tickets per year and exclusive pre-sale tickets on selected festivals with 10% off ticket prices.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Sainsbury's Bank Purchase Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 20.95%
0% for 3 months reverting to 20.95%
£0
20.9% (variable)
Earn 750 bonus Nectar points each time £35 or more spent on Sainsbury's shopping, up to ten times in your first 2 months, up to a total of 7,500 points, offer available for new customers. Earn 2 Nectar points per £1 spent on Sainsbury's shopping and fuel. Earn 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Halifax 0% Purchase and Balance Transfer Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.95%
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.95%
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
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Compare up to 4 providers

Updated April 9th, 2020
Name Product Purchases Annual/monthly fees Credit limits Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
American Express Rewards Credit Card
22.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
22.9% (variable)
Earn 5,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend £2,000 in your first 3 months, and 1 point for virtually every £1 spent thereafter.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
British Airways American Express Card
22.9%
£0
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
22.9% (variable)
5,000 Avios when you spend £1,000 within 3 months of account opening. Earn 1 Avios for virtually every £1 spent. Get a Companion Voucher when you spend £20,000 each year. Earn up to 90,000 bonus Avios points per calendar year, 4,000 points per friend/family member that successfully applies for an American Express card (Excl. Basic card) and uses the Referral Programme.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card
22.9%
£0
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
22.9% (variable)
5% on £1 to £2000 of yearly spend for introductory period of 3 months. 0.5% on £1 to £5000 of yearly spend. 1% after £5001 of yearly spend. Cashback paid Anniversary into Card Account. 5% intro cashback in the first 3 months (max £100). Must spend £3K annually to earn cashback.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
The American Express Nectar Credit Card
22.9%
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
28.2% (variable)
20,000 Nectar points when you spend £2K within 3 months of account opening. Earn 2 Nectar points for virtually every £1 spent at Nectar partners and elsewhere.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum, your representative rate is 28.2% APR (variable).
American Express Platinum Cashback Card
22.9%
£25 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
28.2% (variable)
5% on £1 to £2500 of yearly spend for introductory period of 3 months. 1% on £1 to £10000 of yearly spend. 1.25% after £10001 of yearly spend. Cashback paid Anniversary into Card Account. 5% intro cashback (max £125).
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £25 per annum, your representative rate is 28.2% APR (variable).
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
22.9%
£75 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
39.7% (variable)
Earn 20,000 points when you spend £3,000 within 3 months of account opening. Earn 6 points for every £1 spent at Marriott properties globally and 2 points for virtually every other £1 spent.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £75 per annum, your representative rate is 39.7% APR (variable).
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card
22.9%
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £140 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
57.6% (variable)
New Cardmember offer: Earn 20,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £3,000 in your first three months of Cardmembership. Offer ends 29 June 2020. Terms apply.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with an annual fee of £140 (£0 in first year), your representative APR is 57.6% APR (variable).
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
22.9%
£195 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
76% (variable)
25,000 Avios when you spend £3K within 3 months of account opening. Earn 3 Avios for virtually every £1 spent directly with BA, and 1.5 Avios for virtually every £1 spent everywhere else. Spend £10K in 12 months to redeem the Avios for a companion ticket on a BA flight. Earn up to 90,000 bonus Avios points per calendar year, 9,000 points per friends/family that uses Referral Programme and successfully apply for an American Express card (Excl. Basic card).
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £195 per annum, your representative rate is 76% APR (variable).
The American Express Green Card
N/A (this product is a charge card).
£60 per annum
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
N/A (this product is a charge card).
1 point earned for virtually every £1 spent. Rewards points can be used as currency to buy flights and package holidays through American Express Travel. Reward points can also be redeemed for a wide range of products, experiences, travel and hotel stays.
The Platinum Card
N/A (this product is a charge card).
£575 per annum
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
N/A (this product is a charge card).
1 point earned for virtually every £1 spent. Additional 30,000 points earned when you spend £4K within first three months of Cardmembership. Earn 1 additional point for virtually every £1 spent at American Express Travel Online. Rewards points can be used as currency to buy flights and package holidays through Platinum Service. Reward points can also be redeemed for a wide range of products, experiences, travel and hotel stays. Cardmember can pay card fee (£575) using Membership Rewards® points at renewal. Earn 12,000 bonus points per friend/family that uses Referral Programme and successfully applies for a card and spends £4K within first 3 months of Cardmembership.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Updated April 9th, 2020
Name Product Annual/monthly fees Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum income Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
Tandem Bank Journey Credit Card Mastercard
£0
£500
Subject to status: £1,500
£15000
24.9%
No fees for making purchases or withdrawing cash abroad – currencies are converted at the standard Mastercard exchange rate.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card 24.7pc Visa
£0
£250
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
24.7%
Stay in control of your account with online servicing, a mobile app, SMS and email alerts.
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 24.7% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.7% APR (variable).
TSB Classic Mastercard
£0
£500
Not specified
Not specified
26.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 26.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 26.9% APR (variable).
Tesco Bank Foundation Clubcard Credit Card Mastercard