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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Fact checked

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
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Balance transfers Balance transfer fee Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Link
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).
Go to site
More Info
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).
Go to site
More Info
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
2.9% (min. £5)
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
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).
Check eligibility
More Info
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
2.9% (min. £5) for transfers in first 60 days
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
£0
22.9% (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
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).
Check eligibility
More Info
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).
More Info
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).
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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).
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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)
Retailer offers - 5 Welcome offers of up to 25% cashback at well-known retailers (must switch on Retailer Offers within 60 days of activating card).
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).
More Info
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).
More Info
Bank of Scotland Platinum 0% Purchase and Balance Transfer Mastercard
0% for 17 months reverting to 19.95%
2.99% for 3 months reverting to 5%
0% for 17 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).
More Info
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Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Purchases Balance transfers Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 20 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
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).
Check eligibility
More Info
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
0% for 18 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
22.9% (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
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).
Check eligibility
More Info
M&S Bank Reward Plus Mastercard
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 6 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
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).
Check eligibility
More Info
Santander All in One Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 26 months reverting to 15.9%
0% for 26 months
(0% fee)
£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).
More Info
Tesco Bank Clubcard Plus Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 24 months reverting to 19.944%
21.814%
(3.99% fee)
Clubcard Plus subscriber: £7.99 per month
37.7% (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. Card can also be used as a Clubcard to collect standard points at 1 point per £1 spent on shopping and 1 point per £2 spent on fuel. Points are converted to Tesco vouchers which can be used towards shopping or exchanged for Partner Rewards.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.944% (variable) p.a. with a fee of . Clubcard Plus subscriber: £7.99 per month, your representative rate is 37.7% APR (variable).
More Info
Sainsbury's Bank Dual Offer Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 20.95%
0% for 20 months
(3% fee)
£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).
More Info
TSB Platinum Purchase Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.95%
0% for 20 months
(2.95% fee)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a rate of 19.95% (variable) per annum, your representative APR is 19.9% APR (variable).
More Info
MBNA 0% Transfer and Purchase Credit Card
0% for 18 months reverting to 20.93%
0% for 18 months
(2.99% fee)
£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).
More Info
Santander World Elite Mastercard
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
0% for 18 months
(0% fee)
£15 per month
49.8% (variable)
0.5% on £1 to £3000 of monthly spend. Maximum of £15 cashback paid per month. 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 18.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £15 per month, your representative rate is 49.8% APR (variable).
More Info
Barclaycard Platinum 18 Month 0% Purchase and Balance Transfer Visa
0% for 18 months reverting to 20.9%
0% for 18 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
20.9% (variable)
Buy tickets for up to 3500 selected live events through Barclaycard entertainment and get 5% off tickets per year and exclusive presale tickets on selected festivals with 10% off ticket prices.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
More Info
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Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Purchases Annual/monthly fees Credit limits Rep. APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
19.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
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).
Check eligibility
More Info
M&S Bank Reward Plus Mastercard
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
19.9% (variable)
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
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).
Check eligibility
More Info
American Express Rewards Credit Card
22.2%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
22.2% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, earn 5,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £2,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
Go to site
More Info
American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card
22.2%
£0
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
22.2% (variable)
New Cardmember offer: Get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £100) for the first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
Go to site
More Info
British Airways American Express Card
22.2%
£0
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
22.2% (variable)
New Cardmember offer: Earn 5,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
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American Express Platinum Cashback Card
22.2%
£25 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
27.3% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £125) for the first six months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £25 per annum, your representative rate is 27.3% APR (variable).
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The American Express Nectar Credit Card
22.2%
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
27.3% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, earn 20,000 bonus Nectar points when you spend £2,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum, your representative rate is 27.3% APR (variable).
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The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
22.2%
£75 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
38.8% (variable)
As a new Cardmember earn 20,000 points bonus when you spend £3,000 in the first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £75 per annum, your representative rate is 38.8% APR (variable).
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American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card
22.2%
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £140 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
56.6% (variable)
New Cardmember offer: Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £3,000 in your first six months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with an annual fee of £140 (£0 in first year), your representative APR is 56.6% APR (variable).
Go to site
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British Airways American Express Premium Plus
22.2%
£195 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
74.7% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, earn 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend £3,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £195 per annum, your representative rate is 74.7% APR (variable).
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Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Annual/monthly fees Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum income Rep. APR Incentive Link
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).
More Info
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).
More Info
TSB Classic Credit Card 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).
More Info
Tesco Bank Foundation Clubcard Credit Card Mastercard
£0
£100
Subject to status
£5000
27.5%
Collect 1 Tesco Clubcard point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 Clubcard point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco in each purchase transaction.  Must have available credit to collect Clubcard points. Clubcard points are turned into Clubcard vouchers every 3 months or sooner using Faster Vouchers. Clubcard vouchers can be used in Tesco or with Clubcard Reward Partners to get even more value on dining out, hotel stays and travel.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 27.542% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 27.5% APR (variable).
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Vanquis Bank Chrome Card 29.3pc Visa
£0
£250
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
29.3%
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 29.3% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.3% APR (variable).
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Vanquis Bank Aquis Visa
£0
£250
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
29.8%
You could get a credit limit increase after your 5th statement and further increases every 5 months, up to £4,000.
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 29.84% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
More Info
Barclaycard Forward Credit Card Visa
£0
£50
Subject to status: £1,200
£3000
33.9%
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 33.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 33.9% APR (variable).
More Info
118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card
£0
£500
Not specified
£8400
34%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34% APR (variable).
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aqua Advance Mastercard
£0
£250
Not specified
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Fluid Mastercard
£0
£300
Not specified
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
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Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Purchases Annual/monthly fees Credit limits Rep. APR Incentive Link
British Airways American Express Card
22.2%
£0
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
22.2% (variable)
New Cardmember offer: Earn 5,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
Go to site
More Info
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
22.2%
£195 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
74.7% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, earn 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend £3,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £195 per annum, your representative rate is 74.7% APR (variable).
Go to site
More Info
Virgin Money Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card
22.9%
£0
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
22.9% (variable)
Earn 5,000 bonus miles with your first card purchase made within 90 days of account opening. Earn 0.75 Flying Club miles for every £1 spend. Spend £20K a year on your card and choose an extra benefit - an upgrade to premium, or a Companion ticket. Double miles when you spend directly with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays through the contact centre and online. Earn an additional 2,000 bonus miles if you spend £1K within 90 days of opening until 31.10.19.
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).
More Info
Virgin Money Virgin Atlantic Reward Plus Credit Card
22.9%
£160 per annum
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
63.9% (variable)
Earn 15,000 bonus miles with your first card purchase made within 90 days of account opening. Earn 1.5 Flying Club miles for every £1 spend and 3 miles for every £1 spend with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays. Spend £10K a year on your card and choose an extra benefit - an upgrade to Premium, or a Companion ticket.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £160 per annum, your representative rate is 63.9% APR (variable).
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How does minimum payment work with 0% offers?

Some credit cards offer 0% interest on purchases and/or balance transfers for an introductory period, which usually range from 12-36 months. Although it means you get a break from interest, it does not mean you get a break from making monthly minimum payments.

It’s important to note that making your minimum monthly payment won’t necessarily clear your total debt within your interest-free period.

Instead, you should calculate exactly how much you need to pay each month to repay the entire balance by the time the interest-free period ends. Find your goal monthly repayment by dividing the size of your debt by the number of months in the balance transfer offer.

The table below shows what percentage you should pay off each month to fully clear your debt during the interest-free balance transfer promotional period. We’ve also shown how much this would be for a £2,000 debt. For this example, we’re assuming no new purchases are being made with the card.

Duration% of total to repay each month to clear debtWhat that would equal per month on a £2,000 debt
6 months16.67%£333.33
9 months11.11%£222.22
12 months8.33%£166.66
14 months7.14%£142.85
16 months6.25%£125.00
18 months5.56%£111.11
20 months5.00%£100.00
24 months4.17%£83.33

If you miss a payment, you could incur penalty fees and could also have the 0% offer withdrawn or the time period reduced.

What happens if I miss a minimum payment?

If you forget to pay or can’t afford to pay your minimum payment, you will incur fees and this could impact your credit report. This, in turn, could affect your ability to attain credit in the future.

If you accidentally missed the payment date, make a payment immediately. However, if you’re struggling to pay, contact your provider as soon as possible as it may be able to help.

You could also risk having your interest rate increased or perhaps the introductory 0% period on your card shortened or withdrawn altogether.

All you need to know about debt

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