Credit Card Minimum Payment Calculator for Calculating Payments and Interest Charges

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Help you to estimate your minimum payment and resulting interest costs - plus how many hours you will need to work to pay the interest.

This free online Credit Card Minimum Payment Calculator will calculate the minimum payments and interest costs based on your current balance and the method used by the issuer of your card.

This credit card minimum payment calculator will also give you a month to month break-down of principal and interest payments and, unlike other online credit card payment calculators, it will tell you how many hours you will need to allocate to working just to pay the interest charges on the credit card.

Credit Card Company Board Meeting

I've never sat in on a board meeting at one of the top credit card companies, but I imagine it involves an ivory table surrounded by crushed velvet chairs, all occupied by cigar-smoking, mafia-looking characters -- each wearing the most expensive Rolex and (pant)suit money can buy.

At the front of the meeting room I see an overhead projector screen displaying two pictures. The picture on the left is of a happy, moderately dressed consumer, accompanied by his/her equally happy spouse and children. The picture on the right of the screen shows the same consumer as on the left, but in this case the consumer is not accompanied by a spouse and they are obviously extremely sad, broke, and depressed.

Just to the left of the overhead projector screen, I see a character who looks more devilish than the rest, explaining to the round table of high-priced subordinates that the key to increasing their already shamelessly huge bonus checks is to come up with better and faster ways of turning the consumer pictured on the left side of the screen, into the consumer pictured on the right of screen.

Of course, the reason the leader of the board meeting is the leader in the first place, is because when he and his peers were asked to come up with barely-legal ideas for turning happy consumer families into unhappy, broke and broken families, he was the one with the idea of offering their unsuspecting customers the option of making "minimum payments" that would barely cover the interest charges. A raucous standing ovation ensued, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Land of the Free?

Not really. Thanks to credit card companies and their minimum payment imprisonment schemes, "America, land of the free" should be changed to "America, land of people who might have 30 minutes of freedom right before they go to bed."

Over the past 20-years we Americans -- who've always been so proud of our freedoms -- have consciously and/or unconsciously traded most of our freedoms to lending institutions. As a result, most of us no longer have the freedom to choose what type of work we do, where we work, how much of our time we spend working, or where we will live. Those once-free choices are now dictated by how much the wardens (lending institutions) tell us we have to pay them every month.

Think I'm wrong? Maybe I am. But if given the choice ...

  • Who would choose to spend 2-3 hours a day stuck in rush hour traffic?
  • Who would choose to transport their beloved children (who are only children for a short while) to a professional child-raising facility 5-6 days a week?
  • Who would choose to spend their days being a worker bee in a honeycomb of 10' X 10' cubicles, performing a work that allows for no creative self-expression?

If those are choices you are making because that's how you like your life, then my hat is off to you for at least having the freedom to make those choices.

Minimum Payment, Maximum Sentence

No matter how you look at it, increasing your debt serves to limit your freedom of choice. The more debt you have, the less freedom of choice you will have. And the more you choose to make only the minimum payments on your credit cards, the longer it will take you to get back the freedoms you once enjoyed.

By the way, there is a segment of our population who have very little freedom of choice. We call them "inmates." If you want to remain an inmate in the debt prison and insure that you get to serve the maximum sentence for your financial indiscretions, then by all means, make only the minimum payments on your credit cards and do your part to help the credit card company exec's to set new, all-time-high records for year-end bonuses.

With that, let's use the credit card minimum payment calculator to calculate the payments and the interest charges you will pay if you make only the minimum payments on your credit card.

Calculate Credit Card Minimum Payments
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Instructions: Enter the credit card's current balance and annual interest rate.

Next, select the method your credit card company uses to calculate your minimum payment (enter the percentage if you choose the 2nd option).

Finally, enter the minimum dollar amount and your real hourly wage, then click the "Calculate Minimum Payment" button.

Mouse over the blue question marks for a further explanation of each entry field. More in-depth explanations can be found in the glossary of terms located beneath the Credit Card Minimum Payment Calculator.

Help Current balance ($):
Help Annual interest rate (%):
Help Minimum method
Help Smallest minimum payment allowed ($):
Help Optional: Real hourly wage ($):
Help Current minimum payment:
Help Total minimum payment interest charges:
Help Number of minimum payments before payoff:
Help Work hours required to pay interest charges:

Credit Card Minimum Payment Calculator Glossary of Terms

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Current balance: The current balance on your credit card. If you have added any charges to your card since your last statement, be sure to include those in the total as well.

Annual interest rate: The annual interest rate (APR) you are being charged by the credit card company. Enter as a percentage (for .1899, enter 18.99%). To be fair, the credit card minimum payment calculator uses monthly compounding in its calculations -- even though most credit card companies use daily compounding.

Minimum method: The method the credit card company is using to calculate your monthly minimum payments (call and ask if not explained on your statement). If you choose the 2nd option (Enter percentage -->), go ahead and enter a custom percentage in the field provided. If you chose the 1st option, the credit card minimum payment calculator will take 1% of your balance and add it to the interest charge for the current month.

Smallest minimum payment allowed: The lowest allowable minimum payment. For example, if your credit card company states your payment will be 2% of the balance, or $15, whichever is greater, enter 15 in the field provided. The credit card minimum payment calculator default entry, is 15.

Real hourly wage: Optional: If you want to see how many hours you will need to allocate to work just to pay the interest charges on your credit card, enter your real hourly wage in the field provided. Otherwise leave blank. Note: If you click on the link, the Real Hourly Wage Calculator will open in a new window.

Show/Hide amortization schedule: If you want the credit card minimum payment calculator to include the payment schedule in the results, select Show amortization schedule from the drop down menu. Otherwise select Hide amortization schedule.

Current minimum payment: Based on your current balance and the method your credit card company uses for calculating your minimum payment, this is how much your next payment will be, which will decrease as your balance decreases.

Total minimum payment interest charges: This is how much interest you will pay on your credit card if you only make the minimum payments between now and when you make your final minimum payment.

Number of minimum payments before payoff: This is how many minimum monthly payments you will make between now and when you make your final minimum payment.

Work hours required to pay interest charges: If you included your Real Hourly Wage in the credit card minimum payment calculator inputs, this field will show how many hours you will need to allocate to working just to pay the interest charges on this credit card -- provided you don't add any new charges to the card.

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