Joint Account Holder vs Authorized User: Key Differences

You may have a few different options if you are looking to open a credit card account with an additional person. Being a joint account holder and an authorized user are two different ways that two people can share the same account. However, there are a few important differences that you’ll want to be aware of.

When you add an authorized user to your account, the authorized user can benefit from the good credit and payment history on your account. This can be one strategy to help a trusted friend or family member improve their credit. With a joint credit card account, however, both people apply at the same time and both account holders are legally responsible for all purchases and debt on the account, regardless of which person actually makes the purchase.

Read on to learn more about this topic, including:

•   What is a credit card authorized user?

•   What is a joint account holder for a credit card?

•   What are things to consider before adding an authorized user?

•   What are things to consider before opening a joint credit card account?

•   How to know whether a joint credit card vs. an authorized user is right for you?

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What Is a Credit Card Authorized User?

An authorized user on a credit card, sometimes called a supplementary credit card, is an additional user who is added to the account of the primary cardholder. The authorized user gets their own physical card and can make purchases. The authorized user may benefit from the good credit or a positive payment history on the account; it could help them establish or maintain their credit. However, they are not responsible for any of the purchases or debt.

How an Authorized User Impacts Your Credit

There are many factors that affect credit scores, but adding an authorized user to your account is not one of them. If you add an authorized user to your account, your credit will not be checked, and there should be no immediate impact on your credit. You will want to keep in mind, however, that you are responsible for any purchases made by authorized users. So if your authorized user spends more than you anticipate and you have trouble making the full monthly payment, it could impact your credit score.

Things to Consider When Adding an Authorized User to Your Account

Here’s a quick look at some things to consider when adding an authorized user to your account:

Risks Rewards
You are legally responsible for all purchases made by an authorized user May help establish or maintain the authorized user’s credit if used responsibly
May impact your credit if not used responsibly Additional spending can generate additional credit card rewards
Primary cardholder can remove the authorized user from the account at any time

Recommended: How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?

What Is a Joint Credit Card Account Holder?

Unlike adding an authorized user to your account, you will typically obtain a joint credit card by applying for one with another person. With a joint credit card, the credit of both prospective cardholders is evaluated and used to determine eligibility. If approved, both cardholders are equally and separately liable for all of the debts and purchases on the account, regardless of who actually made the purchase.

How a Joint Account Impacts Your Credit

When you apply for a joint account, the credit of both people is reviewed, and then the applicants are possibly approved to receive a card. This will generally show up on each potential account holder’s credit report as a new inquiry, which may temporarily lower each person’s credit score by a few points. Additionally, both joint cardholders are responsible for all of the debt, regardless of who actually uses the credit card. So if one person spends more than expected or has trouble paying the bill on time, it may negatively impact both cardholders’ credit scores.

Things to Consider Before Opening a Joint Credit Card Account

Here’s a quick look at some things to keep in mind before opening a joint credit card account:

Risks Rewards
Many major issuers do not allow joint accounts Additional spending by two people can generate higher credit card rewards
Cannot remove one person from the joint account without closing the entire account When used responsibly, it can help establish or maintain the credit of both cardholders
May get complicated if the relationship between the joint cardholders changes (e.g. divorce)

Joint Credit Card Account Holder vs Authorized User

Consider the differences between these two arrangements:

•   A joint credit card account is one where two people jointly open and use the account, with both people equally responsible for all of the debt.

•   An authorized user vs. a joint credit card has a key difference: The authorized user is not liable for any purchases they might make — instead the primary cardholder is responsible for all charges.

•   Being an authorized user may be one way to help establish your credit if the primary cardholder already has good credit and continues to use the account responsibly.

Recommended: What Is the Minimum Age to Be an Authorized User on a Credit Card?

Choosing the Right Option

A joint credit card account typically only makes sense for two people that are in a committed relationship in which they are already sharing their finances. And you will also want to keep in mind that many major credit card issuers do not offer joint credit card accounts.

An authorized user, on the other hand, can make sense if you want to help bolster the credit of someone who is starting out. By adding them to your account, you may help them establish their credit.

The Takeaway

An authorized user and a joint credit card account are different ways that two people can share a credit card account. With a joint credit card account, both people open the account together and are equally and separately liable for all charges on the account. With an authorized user on an account, only the primary cardholder is responsible for the charges. Those differences may help you decide which (if either) arrangement is right for you.

There are other considerations when applying for a credit card, such as whether you get rewards with each purchase. If you’re in the market for a new credit card, you might look at a rewards credit card like the SoFi Credit Card. You can earn cash back rewards on every eligible purchase, which you can then use for travel or to invest, save, or pay down eligible SoFi debt. You can even add authorized users to your SoFi credit card to earn additional rewards.

Swipe and tap the smarter way with SoFi.


Is a joint credit card holder the same as an authorized user?

No, having a joint credit card account is not the same as having an authorized user on your account. With a joint credit card, both account holders are equally and separately liable for all charges on the account, regardless of who actually makes the purchase. With an authorized user account, only the primary cardholder is responsible.

Is it better to be an authorized user or have your own credit card?

When you are an authorized user on a credit card, you can make purchases and may be able to establish your credit, but you’re not responsible for any of the charges. Being an authorized user can make sense especially if you are just starting out. However, it may make sense at some point to work towards having your own credit card account where you don’t have to rely on anyone else.

Can you have 2 names on a credit card?

Generally there won’t be two names on a credit card, even if it is a joint account. In both the case of a joint account and being an authorized user, each person will get their own credit card with their name on it. Depending on the card issuer, the credit card account number may be the same or may be different.

Photo credit: iStock/Igor Alecsander
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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

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Top 10 Fun Things to Do When Visiting Memphis

Known as the Home of the Blues, Memphis is a music lover’s paradise, but there are plenty of other reasons to visit this incredible city. You’ll be able to explore its deep history, both in terms of music and the heart of the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century. Plus, there are museums, parks, and more waiting.

Here, you’ll learn more about the best things to do in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as discover ideal times of year to visit. In addition, you’ll get a good idea of the average trip costs so you can budget accordingly.

Best Times to Go to Memphis

Memphis is at its most comfortable during the spring and fall months, typically from late April through the beginning of June and again from late August to the middle of October. For instance, in April, you’ll find temperatures in the 70s during the day, and in October, you’ll experience similarly warm temperatures.

For music lovers, also consider visiting for the annual Beale Street Music Festival, which takes place each May. Some of music’s biggest names perform at this three-day event. 2022’s headliners included Megan Thee Stallion and Van Morrisson, so you know there’s something for everyone.

Recommended: Where to Find Book Now, Pay Later Travel

Bad Times to Go to Memphis

Summer and winter will be less crowded in Memphis, but the weather is less than ideal for many. Summer travel in Memphis can be hot and humid. The average high temperature in July is in the 80s to low 90s Fahrenheit, making that one of the worst times to visit Memphis. Late fall and early winter tend to be cloudy in Memphis, but there’s not a high chance of snow. Rainfall tends to peak in early December and mid-April.

Average Cost of a Memphis Vacation

Before you start making a list of the top things to do in Memphis, get an idea of how much a trip there will cost you once you arrive. According to Budget Your Trip, an individual spends an average of $34 on dining every day. Local transportation is actually more expensive at $47 per day, so you might want to look into renting a car to get around.

Hotels, however, can be reasonably priced at around $134 per night in Memphis, and perhaps even less if you try some hacks to save money on hotels.

Here’s how the costs break down if you plan to spend a week in the city; there will be some incidentals as well:

•   One Person Total: $1,172

•   Two Person Total: $2,343

One note: You may want to also budget for travel insurance in case the unexpected were to happen, or look into what kind of credit card travel insurance your issuer provides.

Recommended: Credit Card Miles vs. Cash Back

10 Fun Must-Dos in Memphis

As you plan a trip to this Tennessee city, you’ll likely want to map out an itinerary, even if just loosely, to make sure you hit the highlights. Here, culled from top online reviews and seasoned travelers, is advice on the 10 best things to do in Memphis.

1. Pay Homage to the King

We would be remiss to start off a list of best things to do in Memphis without mentioning Graceland, the home of iconic singer Elvis Presley. Open for tours on a daily basis, your ticket gives you access to 120 acres. Explore Elvis’s mansion (including the Jungle Room), his most iconic outfits, and the exterior grounds.

There are also on-site museums dedicated to the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s career and cars. If you really want to make the most out of your time at Graceland, you can also stay at a hotel on the grounds. If staying in the city, consider a rental car or shuttle for the 20-minute drive. Ticket prices range from $28 to $215 for the Ultimate VIP Tour. (If you’re buying the top of the line tickets, you may want to swipe with plastic when paying to earn credit card rewards.)

2. Visit the National Civil Rights Museum

Memphis is also known for another King — civil rights legend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated at the city’s Lorraine Motel in 1968. Now the location has been transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum with interactive exhibits, films, and oral histories cataloging centuries of the quest for freedom and equality in America.

Exhibit material starts with the struggle against slavery in the early 1600s and moves forward through today’s continuing Civil Rights Movement. Walk through a recreation of the Montgomery Bus Boycotts of the 1950s, the Memphis Sanitation Strikes, and more. The museum is closed on Tuesdays so plan your visit in advance.

3. Stroll Down Beale Street

This nearly two-mile stretch of road in downtown Memphis is a celebration of all things music. Considered the official Home of the Blues, you’ll find clubs and restaurants to satisfy any music lover’s thirst for live entertainment.

There’s always something going on at Beale Street. Just show up to explore on your own, or download the official app to create a plan. Note that a security checkpoint goes up on Friday and Saturday nights. Those under 21 must be accompanied by an adult after 9 p.m., and the street is strictly 21+ after 11 p.m. In other words, weekend nights on Beale Street are on the list for fun things to do in Memphis for adults but not kids.

4. March with the Peabody Ducks

One of the best things to do in Memphis with kids is to head to the downtown Peabody Hotel for the daily Duck March. Occurring at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day, this decades-long tradition involves five North American mallards who live at the hotel. Each group of ducks lives at the hotel for three months before returning to farm life outside the city.

They’re brought down from their Royal Duck Palace on the rooftop to swim in the lobby fountain. Participants must be at least five years old, and the hotel recommends arriving 30 minutes early to get a seat. Seeing the Peabody Ducks is definitely an affordable family travel option.

5. Tour the Belz Museum

What started out as a private art collection has turned into five permanent exhibits displaying Asian and Judaic art, as well as the Holocaust Memorial Gallery. The Belz Museum also brings in special exhibits twice a year.

One of the most comprehensive collections at the museum is the Chinese art exhibit, which is known as the largest such collection in the southeast United States. You’ll see many pieces from the Qing dynasty, which lasted from the mid-1600s through the early 1900s. The Belz Museum is closed Monday and Tuesday.

6. Take in Some Thrilling Basketball

Love basketball? Check out an NBA game at FedExForum, which is home to the Memphis Grizzlies ( The season runs from October to April. The stadium also hosts University of Memphis men’s basketball, which is a NCAA Division I. You can also check out the Division I women’s team on campus at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.

7. Marvel at the Mighty Lights

Put this on your list of free things to do in Memphis: the nightly Mighty Lights on the downtown waterfront. Every evening, the city’s two iconic bridges (the Hernando de Soto and Harahan) are lit up in a huge display of LED lights. You’ll see the show at the hourly and 30-minute marks starting at sundown, followed by a grand final at 10:30 p.m.

Scout out a spot to watch along the Mississippi riverfront parks, or scope out an aerial view in the city. The Fourth Bluff and Mud Island are both good options to check out.

8. Snap Selfies at Mud Island River Park

Tap into your inner river rat at Mud Island River Park. It takes just a few minutes to walk to it from downtown Memphis, and you’ll enjoy lounging on this Mississippi River island. It’s also a perfect spot for some social media selfies thanks to the huge Memphis sign, which spans 50 feet.

This 52-acre park also features a scale model of the Mississippi River to give you a sense of the true breadth of the world’s third largest river basin. Traveling with pets? Mud Island is also a great location for a long walk with your dog.

9. Drop into the Stax Museum of American Soul Music

Not only is Memphis home to the blues and rock ‘n roll, it has also played a pivotal role in America’s soul music scene. The Stax Museum is the original home of the legendary Stax recording studio, which was the recording label of iconic artists like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Shirley Brown, and many others.

Explore the rich history of the studio through exhibits and artifacts. You’ll even get the chance to see Isaac Hayes’ custom Cadillac Eldorado, decked out in 24-karat gold trim with a mini-fridge and television on the inside. The Stax Museum is closed on Mondays; tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for kids 9-12; children 8 and under are free.

10. Wander Through Meeman-Shelby Forest

Needa dose of nature? Memphis has that, too! Head 20 minutes outside of downtown Memphis for the enchanting Meeman-Shelby Forest. You can explore 13,000 acres of wilderness that is home to a diverse range of ecosystems. Discover sandy beaches and swamplands (home to the Bald Cypress tree).

There are plenty of recreational activities to enjoy, including trails, a nature center, and a disc golf course.

The Takeaway

From a huge music scene to pivotal moments in history, from parks to nightly light shows, Memphis has attractions worth exploring for all ages. It doesn’t matter if you have a few days or a full week — it’s easy to fill your schedule with tons of fun things to do in Memphis on any budget.


Is Beale Street worth a visit?

Beale Street is considered a must-visit if you’re visiting Memphis, whether it’s your first time or you’ve vacationed there before. Home of blues music, you’ll get a truly unique flavor of entertainment any time of day or night.

What is the best month to visit Memphis?

If you have a completely open calendar and are ready to head to Memphis at the perfect time of year, consider going either in mid-spring or mid-fall. You’ll miss the heat of summer and clouds of winter, so you can explore the top things to do in Memphis, Tennessee, in the best possible weather.

What is Memphis most popular for?

Memphis is best known for its music scene, both historically and today. It’s considered the home of the blues as well as the hometown of rock ‘n roll (Elvis Presley’s Graceland is there), so you’re sure to find something to enjoy.

Photo credit: iStock/benedek
The SoFi Credit Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri (TBOM) (“Issuer”) pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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Why your debt-to-income ratio matters

Why Your Debt to Income Ratio Matters

Imagine you’re a lender, and a wellness entrepreneur comes to you to borrow thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. The loan seeker is the picture of health, drives a Tesla S, and lives in a solar-powered manse. But what if the would-be borrower is overextended, and not in a yoga-like way?

You’re going to want to compare their current income to their debts to help gauge how likely you are to be paid back.

Makes sense, right? A debt-to-income ratio helps to determine whether someone qualifies for a loan, credit card, or line of credit and at what interest rate.

A low DTI ratio demonstrates that there is probably sufficient income to pay debts and take on more. But what’s “low” or “good” in most lenders’ eyes?

First, a Ratio Refresher

In case you don’t know how to calculate the percentage or have forgotten, here’s how it works:

DTI = monthly debts / gross monthly income

Let’s say monthly debt payments are as follows:

•   Auto loan: $400

•   Student loans: $300

•   Credit cards: $300

•   Mortgage payment: $1,300

That’s $2,300 in monthly obligations. Now let’s say gross monthly income is $7,000.

$2,300 / $7,000 = 0.328

Multiply the result by 100 for a DTI ratio of nearly 33%, meaning 33% of this person’s gross monthly income goes toward debt repayment.

What Is Considered a Good DTI?

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises homeowners to consider maintaining a DTI ratio of 36% or less and for renters to consider keeping a DTI ratio of 15% to 20% or less (rent is not included in this ratio).

In general, mortgage lenders like to see a DTI ratio of no more than 36%, though that is not necessarily the maximum.

For instance, DTI limits can change based on whether or not you are considering a qualified or nonqualified mortgage. A qualified mortgage is a home loan with more stable features and without risky features like interest-only payments. Qualified mortgages limit how high your DTI ratio can be.

A nonqualified mortgage loan is not inherently high-risk or subprime. It is simply a loan that doesn’t fit into the complex rules associated with a qualified mortgage.

Nonqualified mortgages can be helpful for borrowers in unusual circumstances, such as having been self-employed for less than two years. A lender may make an exception if you have a high DTI ratio as long as, for example, you have a lot of cash reserves.

In general, borrowers looking for a qualified mortgage can expect lenders to require a DTI of 43% or less.

Under certain criteria, a maximum allowable DTI ratio can be as high as 50%. Fannie Mae’s maximum DTI ratio is 36% for manually underwritten loans, but the affordable-lending promoter will allow a 45% DTI ratio if a borrower meets credit score and reserve requirements, and up to 50% for loans issued through automated underwriting.

In the market for a personal loan? Some lenders may allow a high DTI ratio because a common use of personal loans is credit card debt consolidation. But most lenders will want to be sure that you are gainfully employed and have sufficient income to repay the loan.

Front End vs Back End

Some mortgage lenders like to break a number into front-end and back-end DTI (28/36, for instance). The top number represents the front-end ratio, and the bottom number is the back-end ratio.

A front-end ratio, also known as the housing ratio, takes into account housing costs or potential housing costs.

A back-end ratio is more comprehensive. It includes all current recurring debt payments and housing expenses.

Lenders typically look for a front-end ratio of 28% tops, and a back-end ratio no higher than 36%, though they may accept higher ratios if a credit score, savings, and down payment are robust.

How Can I Lower My Debt-to-Income Ratio?

So what do you do if the number you’ve calculated isn’t your ideal? There are two ways to lower your DTI ratio: Increase your income or decrease your debt.

Working overtime, starting a side hustle, getting a new job, or asking for a raise are all good options to boost income.

Strangely enough, if you choose to tackle your debt by only increasing your payments each month, it can have a negative effect on your DTI ratio. Instead, it can be a good idea to consider ways to reduce your outstanding debt altogether.

The best-known debt management plans are likely the snowball and avalanche methods, but there’s also the fireball method, which combines both strategies.

Instead of canceling a credit card, it might be better to cut it up or hide it. In the world of credit, established credit in good standing is looked upon more favorably than new.

The Takeaway

Your debt-to-income ratio matters because it affects your ability to borrow money and the interest rate for doing so. In general, lenders look at a lower DTI ratio as favorable, but sometimes there’s wiggle room.

If you’re struggling with student loan debt, refinancing might be a good option if you can lower your interest rate. And if you’re trying to pay off high-interest credit card debt, one method is to consolidate the debt with a fixed-rate personal loan. This can lower your monthly payment, thus changing your DTI ratio.

Check your rate on SoFi’s student loan refinancing and personal loans.

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SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are looking to refinance federal student loans, please be aware that the White House has announced up to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for qualifying borrowers whose student loans are federally held. Additionally, the federal student loan payment pause and interest holiday has been extended beyond December 31, 2022. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans with SoFi, since the amount or portion of your federal student debt that you refinance will no longer qualify for the federal loan payment suspension, interest waiver, or any other current or future benefits applicable to federal loans. If you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness and still wish to refinance, leave unrefinanced the amount you expect to be forgiven to receive your federal benefit.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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What Is Ego Depletion and How Do You Overcome It?

When it comes to maintaining a strong financial plan and healthy financial behaviors, our brains can sometimes work against us. Behavioral biases, mental traps, and neural wirings can all get in the way of setting and meeting financial goals.

Consider recency bias, which is the tendency for people to look to recent events to make decisions about the future. Just because a stock has skyrocketed recently, that doesn’t mean its upward trajectory will last forever. In fact, jumping into the market during a rally could mean you end up buying when prices are high, right before investors bail and prices fall.

Another mental tendency to consider: ego depletion. It’s the idea that people can only exert their willpower for a limited time, and after that, it’s harder to practice self-control. If you have an important financial decision to make, it may make sense to wait until you are no longer feeling depleted.

Here’s a closer look into the ego depletion theory, what it could mean for your finances, and how to overcome it.

What Is Ego Depletion?

The concept of ego depletion hinges on the idea that our willpower reserves are finite, and when we exert self-control for too long, we use up those reserves. Once those are depleted, it is harder to exert self-control, and we’re more likely to make poor decisions.

The term was coined by American social psychologist Roy Baumeister in the late 1990s, though the idea of ego depletion has become popular in recent years. This may be in part because it makes sense intuitively. For example, the experience of eating a healthy breakfast and lunch only to get home from work and eat a bag of chips for dinner is pretty easy to relate to.

However, not everyone agrees with the concept of ego depletion. Some scientists report a lack of consistent data to support the idea. Instead, they have found that motivation is not finite. Rather, it can be subjective, and there are ways to increase it. That can be a good thing as you begin to set long-term financial goals.

Causes of Ego Depletion

There are a variety of factors that may play a role in ego depletion.

•   Low blood sugar. If you haven’t eaten and your blood sugar has dropped, it may be more difficult to exert willpower.

•   Emotional distress. Temptations may be harder to resist if you’re experiencing a state of mental anguish.

•   Unfamiliar tasks. If you are doing something for the first time, you may need to exert more mental energy, which can lead to ego depletion.

•   Lack of choice. If you are forced to do a task not of your choosing, you may be more likely to become depleted.

•   Illusory fatigue. If you think that a task will be mentally tiring, you may experience ego depletion faster. In other words, ego depletion happens more often when you expect it to. If you think a task won’t tax you too much, you may be able to exert more self-control.

•   Cognitive dissonance. Situations in which you do or say something that contradicts your beliefs can tire you out and diminish your self-control.

•   Variable heart rate. Those who experience variable heart rate have been found to have less self-control.

The Effect of Ego Depletion on Your Finances

If tasks that require self-control weaken your willpower, you may be less likely to make good decisions when you experience ego fatigue. When it comes to your finances, for instance, you may be more likely to spend money on things that you can’t afford.

Ego depletion could also mean you’re less equipped to make important decisions, such as how to invest your money. For example, if the market is experiencing a downturn, you may find yourself more prone to panicking and potentially pulling out your money. But in doing so, you’ll lock in losses and potentially miss out on a subsequent upswing.

Ego depletion could also mean you miss important deadlines, such as deadlines for funding your 401(k) or IRAs, or tax deadlines.

Recommended: Key Terms to Improve Your Financial Literacy

How to Overcome Ego Depletion

Luckily, there are ways to overcome ego depletion and improve your money mindset.

Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep makes self-control difficult. Sleep counteracts fatigue and helps reset your willpower reserves, so practice good sleep hygiene. Go to bed at a consistent time. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, relaxing, and dark. Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bed.

Manage Stress

Managing stress can help you address the causes of ego depletion as well as its effects. Consider strategies such as deep breathing, mindfulness exercises, eating healthy, and consistent exercise.

Set Goals

Clear financial objectives and the steps you need to reach them can help overcome ego depletion. Consider using SMART goals, or goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. With these in place, you’ll know what you need to do to accomplish your objectives, and you’ll also be less likely to make moves that stray from your plan.

Plan for the Long Term

Long-term financial plans take your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon into consideration. They are built to account for the natural cycles of volatility. With a long-term plan to refer to, you may be less likely to make rash decisions in the short term, such as panic selling when markets are down or buying when market prices are peaking and may be nearing a fall.

Recommended: Guide to Money Affirmations

Tools to Help Your Reach Your Goals

There are a variety of tools out there that can help you set and meet your goals and make financial freedom a reality. It’s worth shopping around to find the ones that work best for you and you’re more likely to stick with.

One to consider: a spending app, which can help you set up a budget, categorize and track spending, make bill payments on time, and track your credit score.

The Takeaway

The idea of ego depletion centers around the idea that when we exert self-control for too long, we use up our willpower reserves and are more likely to make poor decisions. Learning the causes of ego depletion is a first step in helping you head off rash financial decisions that may work against you. If you recognize that your willpower is fading, take a breather. And when in doubt, refer back to your long-term financial goals and plan.

If you’re looking to build your long-term financial plan, a money tracker app can help. The SoFi Insights app connects all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see all of your balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score monitoring. Plus, you can get other valuable financial insights.

Stay up to date on your finances by seeing exactly how your money comes and goes.


What is the cause of ego depletion?

Ego depletion can be caused by a number of factors, such as emotional distress, fatigue, low blood sugar, or unfamiliar tasks.

What is an example of ego depletion?

An example of ego depletion might be spending the day hard at work and then coming home, sitting on the couch, and turning on the television instead of pursuing other healthier activities, such as going to the gym.

How do you deal with ego depletion?

There are a number of strategies to combat ego depletion, such as getting enough rest, managing stress, and setting and sticking to long-term goals.

Photo credit: iStock/Delmaine Donson

SoFi’s Insights tool offers users the ability to connect both in-house accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score provided to you is a Vantage Score® based on TransUnion™ (the “Processing Agent”) data.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Understanding Purchase Interest Charges on Credit Cards

In a rising interest rate climate, especially after historic lows, you may be more aware of purchase interest charges on your credit card statement. These charges are a wordy way of saying interest, which you owe when you don’t pay your credit card statement balance in full.

Americans pay about $120 billion per year in credit card interest and fees — about $1,000 per year for each household. Read on for more about credit card interest, including how it works and how to find your card’s interest rate.

What Is Credit Card Interest?

Credit card interest is what you’re charged by a credit card issuer when you don’t pay off your statement balance in full each month. Card issuers may charge different annual percentage rates (APRs) for different types of balances such as purchases, balance transfers, cash advances, and others. You may also be charged a penalty APR if you’re more than 60 days late with your payment.

An interest charge on purchases is the interest you are paying on the purchases you make with the credit card but don’t pay in full by the end of the billing cycle in which those purchases were made. The purchase interest charge is based on your credit card’s annual percentage rate (APR) and the total balance on that card — both of which can fluctuate.

Taking a closer look at your credit card balance and interest rate can help you figure out the best way to pay it off. Here’s some information about how purchase interest charges work and, in general, how interest works on a credit card.

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How Does Credit Card Interest Work?

Credit cards charge different APRs on purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers. The cardmember agreement that was included when you first received your credit card outlines the different APRs and how they’re charged. This information is also included in brief on each monthly billing statement, or you can contact your credit card issuer’s customer service department for this information. Another place to find how interest works on various credit cards is through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which maintains a database of credit card agreements from hundreds of card issuers.

Some credit cards offer an introductory 0% interest rate. But once that promotional period ends, paying your balance in full each month is how you can avoid interest charges.

For example, you get a new credit card with a $5,000 available credit limit and 0% interest for three months. You use the credit card to buy a new computer that costs $3,000 and a designer dog house for your poodle that costs $1,000.

For each of the three interest-free months you pay only the minimum balance due. But since the full balance hasn’t been paid, your fourth statement will include a purchase interest charge. That is the interest you now owe because you did not pay off your credit card statement balance in full.

Credit card interest is variable, based on the prime rate, and banks typically calculate interest daily. A typical interest calculation method used is the daily balance method.

•   The bank will calculate the daily periodic rate, which is the APR divided by 365.

•   To each day’s balance, the bank will add any interest charge from the previous day (compounded interest) and any new transactions and fees, then subtract any payments or credits. This is the new daily balance.

•   The daily periodic rate is multiplied by the daily balance each day.

•   At the end of the billing cycle, each day’s balance is added together, resulting in the amount of interest owed.

•   If the amount owed is less than the minimum interest charge shown on the credit card’s fee schedule, the bank will charge the minimum.

You can make a payment toward your balance due at any time — you don’t have to wait until the due date. Since interest is commonly calculated daily, making multiple smaller payments rather than one large payment on the due date is one way to decrease the amount of interest you might owe at the end of the billing cycle. This can be a good strategy to use if you don’t pay your credit card bill in full each month. You’ll still owe some interest, but it may be less.

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What is a Purchase Interest Charge?

Sometimes also known as a finance charge, an interest charge on purchases is simply interest you pay on your credit card balance for purchases you made but didn’t pay in full. If you don’t pay off your balance each billing cycle, a purchase interest charge for the unpaid amount then becomes part of the total balance you owe.

For example, let’s say you owe $1,000 on a credit card, and because you did not pay that $1,000 in full you were charged a purchase interest charge of $90. You now owe $1,090, and then the next month’s purchase interest charge will be calculated based on a balance of $1,090.

This is called compound interest and can lead to a cycle of credit card debt. The interest charges continue to accrue if you’re not paying your balance in full every month.

How Do You Get Rid of a Purchase Interest Charge?

For a temporary reprieve from paying an interest charge on purchases, you might look for a credit card that has an introductory 0% APR. Some credit card issuers offer introductory rates for anywhere from 12 to 18 months for qualified applicants. If you make a plan for paying off the balance before the promotional period ends and you’re diligent about sticking to it, you could forgo paying interest on purchases made during that period.

Some people might choose this strategy rather than taking out a personal loan for a specific purchase. If you’re sure you can pay the balance in full while the APR remains at 0%, it could be a good strategy.

The only sure way not to pay a purchase interest charge is to pay your credit card balance in full each month.

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Different Types of Credit Card Interest

Interest charges on purchases are just one type of interest charged on a credit card. Other transactions and fees may apply and must be disclosed to credit card applicants. The information can be found in a credit card’s rates and fees table often referred to as the “Schumer Box” after legislation introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer as part of the Truth in Lending Act. The APR for purchases is typically at the top of the list, with others below.

•   Balance transfer APR: If you transfer a balance from one credit card to another, this is the rate you’ll pay on the amount of the transfer. You’ll also be charged interest at this APR on any balance transfer fee your card issuer might charge you.

•   Cash Advance APR and fee: Cash advance APRs tend to be much higher than purchase APRs, and there’s typically no grace period — interest starts accruing immediately. Like a balance transfer fee, you’ll be charged interest on a cash advance fee, too.

•   Penalty APR: If your credit card payment is more than 60 days late, your credit card issuer may increase your APR. If you make the next six consecutive payments on time, the card issuer must reinstate your original APR on the outstanding balance. But they are allowed to keep the higher penalty APR on any new purchases.

In addition to interest charges, there may also be fees charged. All of these fees could potentially accrue interest at their respective rates if the credit card’s balance is not paid in full by the payment due date.

•   Annual fee: Some credit cards charge an annual fee to the card holder.

•   Balance transfer fee: A fee of 3% to 5%, typically, on the amount transferred.

•   Cash advance fee: The greater of a flat dollar amount or a percentage of the cash advance.

•   Foreign transaction fee: A percentage of each transaction amount, in U.S. dollars.

•   Returned payment fee: Having insufficient funds in the bank account used to pay your credit card bill could result in a returned payment fee.

•   Late payment fee: Payments made after the statement due date will incur a late fee of at least $29 and not more than $40.

Where Can I Find My Credit Card’s Interest Rates?

There are several places you can locate your credit card’s interests rates and fees.

Anytime you receive a solicitation for a credit card, which is basically an advertisement, the credit card issuer is required by law to disclose the card’s possible interest rates and fees, as well as how interest is calculated. Since the recipient of this advertisement hasn’t been approved for the credit at this point, these numbers are estimations.

If you are going through a prequalification process for a credit card, the issuer should be able to provide you with more specific APRs so you can decide if that card is a good financial tool for you.

After you’ve been approved, the credit card issuer will mail you a packet containing your physical credit card and detailed information in a cardmember agreement. It’s a good idea to read this document thoroughly so you’re aware of all possible APRs and fees you could be charged.

If you access your credit card account online, you can also find this same detailed information on the card issuer’s website. You can call the card’s customer service telephone number for the information.

The Takeaway

If you’re one of the many people who carry a credit card balance, knowing how much interest you’re paying on different types of charges is important. Interest charges on purchases are likely the most common interest charges, and the amount of interest you may pay can add up quickly.

To keep from paying interest on purchases at all, it’s important to pay your credit card balance in full each month. If you don’t, you’ll accrue interest, which compounds and can create a debt cycle.

3 Personal Loan Tips

  1. Before agreeing to take out a personal loan from a lender, you should know if there are origination, prepayment, or other kinds of fees. If you get a personal loans from SoFi, there are no-fee options.
  2. If you’ve got high-interest credit card debt, a personal loan is one way to get control of it. But you’ll want to make sure the loan’s interest rate is much lower than the credit cards’ rates — and that you can make the monthly payments.
  3. Just as there are no free lunches, there are no guaranteed loans. So beware lenders who advertise them. If they are legitimate, they need to know your creditworthiness before offering you a loan.

Learn more about how a personal loan from SoFi can help you get out of credit card debt.

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