Credit Card Payoff Calculator

CardHub's unique & free credit card calculator helps you take the guesswork out of credit card use. Determine your optimal credit card debt payoff plan and monthly payments by fully understanding the total cost involved and the amount of time it will take to become debt free. At the same, we will scan more than 1,000 credit card offers in real-time and let you know if any of them would provide you significant savings.

Expert Answers

How can I use credit card calculators strategically?

By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEO

It should be no surprise that people rack up billions of dollars in credit card debt each year, as over 70% of consumers have credit cards, yet only 60% of them pay more than the minimum required each month. What you may not know is exactly why people continue to rack up such prodigious debt figures in the wake of one of the worst recessions in history as well as just how long it takes to pay off credit card debt while making just the minimum monthly payment.

There are “lots of reasons,” says Dr. David Aron, an associate professor of marketing at Dominican University who studies consumer psychology. “They include:
  • People are more concerned with their own situations than those of others or the nation as a whole. My debt is my problem regardless of what national data says.
  • It seems like so many things are more expensive these days (e.g., car repairs, medical expenses) and these bills have to be paid somehow, often through financing arrangements.
  • Jobs are harder to find and transition more rapidly.
So in short, [credit card debt] is a problem, absolutely. The need for money remains, and the access to expensive money is constantly being promoted.”

That's especially problematic because it takes around 10 years for someone with a $2,000 balance and a 15% interest rate to become debt free by only making their monthly minimum payment. And over those 10 years, that person will pay roughly $1,200 in interest.

That, in a nutshell, showcases the utility of a credit card calculator. Too often, people find themselves unable to see the forest (i.e. their overall goals of saving money and providing for a stable financial future) for the trees (i.e. what is convenient or seemingly appropriate at the moment). Most know that they should pay their credit card bills in full every month, for example, but they assume interest won't be that costly, or at least not worth as much as the purchases they'd like to make now. A credit card calculator, however, can easily translate guesswork into hard numbers, thereby pointing you toward the most cost-effective course of action.

The most strategic way to use credit card calculators is to make them integral to your credit card decision-making process. In other words, before making any significant decisions relating to your credit card use or spending, first crunch the numbers with the appropriate calculator. This will make it easier to pick the right credit card, evaluate the efficacy of taking on new debt versus waiting until you can pay in full, set goals and manage your finances accordingly, etc. For example, you could leverage a credit card interest calculator to determine if it's worth paying an annual fee in return for a lower APR, and a credit card debt calculator, also known as a payoff calculator, will give you a sense of whether a big-ticket purchase is worth it in light of how much time and money will be required for debt repayment.

“Decide how important it is to you to be debt-free,” says David M. Cordell, a clinical professor of finance and managerial economics at the University of Texas at Dallas. “Some people would say that mortgage rates are still so low that, given the likelihood of inflation, maximizing a fixed-rate mortgage makes sense. Not so for credit cards. The rates will always be high, and the interest isn’t tax-deductible. Commit to paying down those credit card bills and other consumer loans. Have a goal. If you want to be credit card debt-free in X years, use a calculator to figure out how much your payment will be. If you can do it, do it! If the pill is too big to swallow, try a longer period of time.”

Do I need to provide any personal information in using a credit card calculator?

By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance Editor

No, use of CardHub's credit card calculators does not require any registration or personal information like your name, social security number, card number, or credit score. For your own privacy, we only require the bare minimum information needed to make accurate calculations

You will therefore need to input data such as your interest rate, balance, and monthly payment for the calculators to work, but these values are anonymous and do not even need to be exact. As long as they're in the ballpark, you should be able to get insights applicable to your situation.

What if I don't have a credit card?

By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance Editor

While one might assume credit card calculators to be worthless for people who don't actually use plastic, they actually offer valuable insights to any indebted consumer and/or anyone considering opening a new credit card account. For instance, a credit card calculator can tell you how much you'd stand to save by transferring non-credit card debt to a 0% balance transfer card or help you determine the financial implications of leveraging a credit card to make upcoming big-ticket purchases, as compared to other alternatives you may be considering.

With that being said, if you don't currently have any debt and don't plan on incurring any in the future, a credit card calculator obviously won't be of much use to you.

Which credit card calculator should I use?

By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEO

In order to make the most of our credit card calculators, you need to know which type to use, and this starts with identifying your main need. For example, if you want to determine:
  • What it will take to become debt free…use our credit card payoff calculator. This type of credit card payment calculator can tell you two things: 1) The monthly payments you'll need to make to rid yourself of credit card debt within a certain amount of time or 2) How different monthly payment amounts affect the length of time it will take to pay down what you owe.
  • How much you'd save with a lower interest rate…use our credit card interest calculator. A credit card's interest charges stem from its introductory rate, regular rate, and balance transfer fee as well as your balance and monthly payment. A credit card interest rate calculator takes all of those things into account and enables you to quickly determine whether getting a lower interest rate will save you a lot of money or not be worth the time and effort.
  • The value of moving existing debt to a new credit card…use our balance transfer calculator. As CardHub's Balance Transfer Study revealed, this type of transaction isn't necessarily limited to shifting debt from one credit card to another in order to take advantage of a promotional 0% interest rate. Rather, you can transfer most types of debt – including auto loans, personal loans, etc. – to credit cards. The cost of a balance transfer depends on a variety of factors, including the size of your balance, the new credit card's transfer fee and 0% term, and how long it will take you to pay down what you owe. Figuring out if it will save you money necessitates comparing that cost to what you'd have to pay under the terms of your current account. It's certainly possible to do this by hand, but this type of credit card debt calculator makes it significantly easier.
  • How much debt is truly costing you…use our credit card payoff calculator. Credit card companies assess interest on a daily basis, which means interest accrues on interest and it is therefore difficult to appreciate the true cost of big-ticket purchases paid off over time. Credit card debt calculators tell you exactly how much interest to account for, making them a valuable tool to use when deciding whether or not you should make a significant purchase now or wait until you have the funds to cover it.
Regardless of your exact need, the best part about our credit card calculators is the fact that in addition to crunching the numbers for you, they simultaneously scan more than 1,000 available credit card offers in real-time in order to provide custom money-saving recommendations.

Do credit card calculators work for all types of credit cards?

By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance Editor

Of course, as far as the calculators are concerned, it generally makes no difference whether you have a regular credit card, a secured credit card, a store card, or even a gas card. This will become obvious after a quick look at the credit card calculators themselves, as there is no place to input such distinctions.

What's more, just think: Would the monthly payments required to pay off a $5,000 balance on a Macy's Card be any different than those needed to pay off the same balance on a Visa card? Definitely not.

There is, however, one exception: charge cards. You're not going to be able to calculate the cost of interest or the time it will take you to pay down debt for a card that does not allow you to revolve a balance, after all.

Community Discussion

Ask a question or help others find the best credit cards by sharing some tips.

Oct 5, 2015
Photo of Denise M.
Oct 5, 2015
How can I get a credit card to pay off my credit cards
when my credit score is very bad?
Oct 20, 2015
Photo of Mike C.
Oct 20, 2015
Denise Marino,

Depending on your interest rates on your current credit "cards" you speak of, it maybe best to go to a secondary lender and apply for a personal loan to consolidate those cards into one payment instead of multiple payments on different interest rates. And even though the interest rate is higher then normal loan approvals, it will be cheaper. In doing so you will add a new installment account which will help with a mix of credit. (Mix of credit affects 15% of your credit score.) You will pay down your credit cards to $0 hopefully, and that will also pull up your credit score. (Your credit available utilization more
Oct 19, 2015
Photo of Card H.
Oct 19, 2015
Unfortunately, it might prove very difficult or even impossible to qualify for an unsecured credit card with a high enough credit limit to pay off your existing credit card debt if you have a “very bad” credit score. Furthermore, the terms you’re likely to be offered on a loan might make that approach to debt consolidation too expensive. You may want to consider a debt management program instead. You can learn more about your options on our Debt Solutions page: