Take control of your credit card spending

February 27, 2023

Do you know how much interest you’re paying on your credit card every month? You’re not alone if you don’t! Recent research carried out by iReach Insights showed that 66% of consumers here in Ireland don’t know exactly how much they pay in interest on their credit card.

24% of those surveyed believe they pay less than 5% interest. In reality, credit card interest rates vary from 13% to 26%, depending on which credit card you have.

Here at the CCPC, we want to help you manage your money better. You can find out more on our money hub if you’re unsure about how credit cards works. We’ve also put together our top tips to put you back in charge.

Using your credit card

When using your card, you should remember that credit cards are one of the most expensive ways to borrow, unless you’re not paying the balance off in full each month. You should avoid putting day to day spending on your card if you cannot afford to pay it off in full. You should also consider other forms of credit for larger purchases. For example, if your fridge breaks down and you need a new one, a personal loan of €1,000 from any provider on our Money Tool would be cheaper than even the cheapest of credit cards currently available, if you’re paying it off over a period of time.

Understand your interest rate

The interest you pay depends on your provider’s annual percentage rate (APR). APR is the interest rate charged on your credit card balance each month. The higher the APR is, the more you’ll pay for the money borrowed. Check your bill to see what your current rate is and see our credit card Money Tool to compare the different rates on offer.

Remember, you can avoid having to pay interest by paying your balance in full every month.

Top Tip

Many people wrongly think if they pay the minimum payment each month, they do not pay interest. Unless you clear the full balance each month, you are paying interest.

Clear your card

If you find yourself only making the minimum payment each month, it may be time to make a plan to clear your card. You can use our clearing your credit card calculator to help you see how long it will take to clear it with your current provider, and if you switched to a different provider.

You may also be able to switch your card and transfer your balance to a lower interest rate. This will give you the breathing space to pay down the balance.

Be sure to find out:

  • how long the low rate applies
  • whether it applies to the transferred balance only
  • how much the rate will rise to when the interest-free period ends

You can find all this information on our credit card Money Tool.

If you are struggling with credit card debt, you could also reach out to the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) for advice. Their helpline is 0818 07 200.

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