Stop Throwing Away Money with a High-APR Credit Card

Monday, February 3rd, 2014
Updated: February 3rd, 2014
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

When your new credit card came in the mail, a whole bunch of pamphlets with small print came with it. If you’re like most people, you either threw them away or filed them somewhere you’ll never have to think about them again. If they wanted you to actually read that stuff, they’d print it a little bigger, right? You know how to make purchases with your credit card, and that seems like the most important thing to know.

But the truth is, the terms and conditions disclosures that come with your credit card are very important. Somewhere in all that fine print is a box that tells you what the fees and interest rates are for your credit card. If you don’t pay off your balance in full each month, the APR—it stands for Annual Percentage Rate—is going to dictate exactly how much extra you’ll pay before getting your balance down to zero.

The difference between a high APR credit card and a low APR credit card can bethousands of dollars depending on how big of a balance you carry. It’s essential that you know your APR and figure out how much it’s costing you.

A $20K difference

If you don’t think there’s a huge difference between a credit card with a 20% APR and one with a 5% APR, read on for an eye-opening illustration of just exactly how much more that high APR card could cost you.

Say you have a balance of $5,000 that you want to pay off. You stop using your card—so, there are no new charges being made—and pay only the minimum payment each month. The interest rate is 20% (or more likely, 19.99%, as that’s the way most credit card issuers prefer to phrase their rates). It will take you about 41 years to pay off that $5,000 balance, and during that time you will pay approximately $21,169 in interest.

Now imagine that same scenario, only the APR on that credit card is 5% (or 4.99%) It will take only 13 years to pay off that balance, paying the minimum payment only, and you will pay a comparatively miniscule $1,177 in interest over those 13 years. A pretty big difference, right?

The best course of action

Of course, 13 years is still a long time, and over a thousand dollars of interest is not insignificant. The best thing to do is transfer the entire balance to a 0% APR introductory offer credit card and pay more than the minimum each month, so the entire thing is paid off quickly with no interest paid.

Whether or not you transfer that balance to a low-interest card or a zero interest card, hopefully this illustration shows you just how important it is to pay attention to the APR on your credit card. The good news is, you don’t have to dig up those tiny-print pamphlets that came with your card to find out what your APR is. It is printed clearly on your statement each month.

Stop throwing away money on your high APR credit card today—browse a selection of low APR cards and find the one that could save you thousands of dollars.

All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.

Latest Low APR Credit Cards Guides

How To Know If A Low APR Credit Card Is Right For You February 2nd, 2019

Do you pay your credit card balance off in full every month without fail? Or do you find that some months, it’s difficult to deliver the total amount due, and you need to let some of it ride until next month? Perhaps you can only pay the minimum amount due, as interest mounts with each statement that comes into your mailbox.

Continue »
How To Find The Best Low APR Credit Card For You July 11th, 2018

Credit cards are great for lots of things: collecting reward points and frequent flyer miles, paying for purchases when you don’t have cash on hand, and shopping online. But one thing no one likes is paying high-interest fees on their credit cards.

Continue »
Kick Off Your New Year Right With A Great New Credit Card December 27th, 2017

The start of a brand new year is a time when many people make resolutions about all the things they’ll accomplish during the coming months, and take a close look at their behavior to figure out what they might change in order to make these things happen.

Continue »
3 Things That Matter More Than Rewards When Shopping For A Credit Card August 9th, 2017

Earning credit card rewards is one of the best things about using a credit card as your primary method of payment for everyday purchases. But if you’re looking for a new credit card and are focused only on finding one that offers you the best and biggest rewards, you could be missing out on some of the other important features that make credit cards indispensible financial tools for so many people.

Continue »
The Secret To Never Paying Interest On Your Credit Cards Again January 25th, 2017

If you’re paying off debt on your credit cards, do you know how much is going toward the actual amount you owe, and how much you’re paying in interest?

Continue »
Best Credit Offer
HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card
Check off the cards you want to compare. Then click the Compare link to go to the comparison table.
Consumer Rating: 5 / 5
Horizon Card Services Horizon Gold Credit Card
Copyright © 2001-2019 All Rights Reserved.

*See the credit card's terms and conditions on the online application page. Note that this website may be compensated by credit card issuers when the visitor applies for a card through the links on this website. We do our best to maintain all information accurate and up to date. However, we do not warrant the credit card information won't change. Click the "Apply Online" button and review the current info on the secure credit card terms page.

Information in these articles is brought to you by Banks, issuers, and credit card companies mentioned in the articles do not endorse or guarantee, and are not responsible for, the contents of the articles.

The webpage is a free service and an information resource for credit cards and financial products and services available to eligible United States consumers. does not offer any warranties and is not a direct service. There are no guarantees for approval or offers when applying for a credit card. Please refer to the application if you would like more information on each credit card. When you click "Apply" for a particular credit card, please take the time to review the terms and conditions of the product/service at the issuer's website. All logos on the website are property of their respective owners.

Disclaimer: This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all info is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for terms & conditions. makes every effort to keep information up to date and accurate. However, the information regularly changes and is presented without warranty. Therefore, we strongly recommend all our readers to visit the credit card application page by clicking "Apply Online!" button to review the detailed credit card's terms and conditions. Note that may be compensated by the credit card issuers when the readers apply for a credit card through this site. is an independent, advertising-supported website which receives compensation from the credit card issuers and companies whose offers appear on the site. Compensation may impact how and where products appear on our site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear on the site pages. does not review or list all available financial or credit offers.

Disclosure: Not an access card.

You've successfully subscribed!

Please specify the following:All these fields are optional

Thank you for providing this information! We will make sure our letters are useful for You.

User Generated Content Disclaimer: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.