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A Guide to Credit Card Amortization

By Dan Miller · September 01, 2022 · 5 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

A Guide to Credit Card Amortization

The term amortization is usually used to refer to the process in which debt is paid off on a set schedule, with fixed payments each month. An amortization schedule can show you the amount of your payment that goes toward the principal and interest each month. Because credit cards are considered revolving loans, amortization is not often used with credit cards.

However, a credit card amortization schedule can be helpful if you’re trying to pay down your balance. Understanding credit card amortization can help you decide how big your payments should be each month, as well as what the impact of additional credit card payments would be.

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What Is Amortization?

Amortization is the process where debt is paid down on a set schedule, usually with fixed monthly payments. One common example is a 30-year mortgage — each month, you make a mortgage payment for the same amount.

Every time you make the mortgage payment, part of your payment is an interest payment, and part of the payment goes toward paying down your mortgage principal. Each month, as the principal balance goes down, more and more of your monthly payment goes toward the principal, until the mortgage is completely paid off.

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What Is Credit Card Amortization?

Because credit cards are considered revolving debt — meaning you can continually borrow and repay your debt — they don’t have amortization in the same way that a mortgage or car loan does. However, one area where a credit card amortization schedule may apply is if you’re trying to pay down a credit card balance.

In this instance, understanding the amortization schedule for your credit card can help you decide how making additional payments to your credit card issuer will impact your overall balance.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

How Does Credit Card Amortization Work?

One of the credit card rules is that the higher your balance is, the more interest you’ll owe each month. By only making the credit card minimum payment, it could take you many years to pay off your debt. If you’ve decided to rein in your credit card spending and pay down your balance, you can use a credit card amortization schedule to determine how long it will take.

Specifically, looking at credit card amortization will allow you to see how much less you’ll owe with each subsequent payment — assuming you’re no longer actively using your credit card. This schedule will take into account your current balance, your card’s annual percentage rate (APR), and how much you can afford to pay off each month. Then, you can determine how many months it will take until your balance is paid off in full.

Factors That Affect Credit Card Amortization

One of the biggest factors that affects a credit card amortization schedule is the interest rate on your credit card. The higher your credit card interest rate, the more of each monthly payment that will go toward interest. That will mean your amortization schedule will last longer.

Another factor to consider is the consequences of credit card late payments. If you delay credit card payments and incur late fees, that will increase your overall balance. That will also increase your amortization schedule and extend the length of time it will take to pay down your total credit card balance.

Guide to Calculating Credit Card Amortization Period

Since credit cards are considered revolving debt, it can make it difficult to calculate a credit card amortization period. If you continue to use your credit card for new purchases, you won’t be able to calculate an amortization period because your total balance will change each month.

One way you can calculate a credit card amortization period is if you decide to stop making any purchases on your card. If you have a $5,000 balance on your credit card, you can use any online amortization calculator and input the credit card payment amount you want to make each month. The resulting amortization schedule will show how long it will take to completely pay off your credit card, assuming you make payments by your credit card payment due date.

Debt Consolidation and Credit Card Amortization: What to Know

If you’re looking to lower your credit card debt, one option is credit card debt forgiveness. But because this isn’t always easy to get, another is to consolidate your debt by taking out a personal loan.

Unlike revolving loans like what a credit card is, a personal loan is a type of fixed loan that has an amortization schedule. Following that amortization schedule lets you know when you’ll completely satisfy your debt obligation.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

The Takeaway

An amortization schedule shows how much of each loan payment goes toward interest and how much goes to principal. Because credit cards are considered revolving debt, they don’t have amortization schedules in the same way that fixed loans do. Still, you can use a credit card amortization schedule as a tool if you’re trying to eliminate your credit card balance.

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FAQ

What does credit card amortization payment mean?

If you’re looking to pay down or eliminate your debt, one strategy is to stop making any new purchases with your card. That way, you can concentrate on lowering your total payment. If you only make the credit card minimum payment each month, it could take years before you pay off your balance. Following a credit card amortization schedule can help pay off your debt sooner.

How can I calculate my credit card amortization period?

A credit card amortization period mostly makes sense if you stop making any new purchases on the card. If you’re still regularly using your credit card, your total balance will change with each purchase and payment. On the other hand, if you aren’t regularly using your card for new purchases, you can calculate your credit card amortization period using your total balance, interest rate, and monthly payment amount.

What is a credit card amortization term?

An amortization term is how long it takes to completely pay off a loan. If you’re making regular payments on the credit card payment due date each month, you’ll gradually lower your total credit card balance. A credit card amortization term can make sense if you are no longer actively using your card and focusing on eliminating your debt. You can use your total balance, interest rate, and the amount you’re paying each month to figure out how long it will take to eliminate your balance.


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