I have a fairly standard point-rewards Visa credit card - I want to keep the interest on it from capitalizing, so whenever I make a purchase of over $50, or feel like I've made a large number of smaller purchases recently, I go to my account and pay the whole balance off.

Now, is it possible that as I reach the end of a month, if I haven't quite paid off what's on the card, the interest will capitalize, even though I've been keeping up with my card for the entire rest of the month? Say, if I make a purchase the day before the end of a billing cycle, and don't make that payment until a day after?

I don't have the exact terms of my card in front of me - so I'm less asking if it will happen, and more asking if it could happen, or is likely to happen under most credit card agreements - basically, to keep ahead of my card's interest, should I always pay it all off just before the end of my billing cycle?

  • 1
    What do you mean by "capitalizing" here? Most American credit cards do charge any interest if you pay the full amount billed before the due date for that bill (with some exceptions such as cash advances), so there really isn't much advantage to trying to pay smaller amounts as you go. If something doesn't get onto the billing statement, it goes into the next billing cycle and you can ignore it until that is due.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 14:02
  • 1
    @keshlam I assume you mean 'don't' instead of 'do', like the answer given below.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 14:15

1 Answer 1


Typically, if you pay your statement in full before the due date, you will not have to pay any interest, regardless of when the purchases are made. You don't need to pay every month's balance off right away.

For example, say you get a statement May 20th with the payment due June 15th and you owe $1000. May 21st, you make a purchase of $500. You still only have to pay $1000 by June 15th to avoid interest. The $500 purchase will be on the next statement (e.g. June 20th and due July 15th). This is often referred to as the "grace period". As long as you pay that $500 by July 15th, you will be charged no interest (assuming, of course, no other purchases, this is a simplified example after all ;) ).

If you start carrying a balance, it gets more complicated and expensive, as interest starts accumulating from the day of purchase and usually starts compounding daily.

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    Ah, that's how I thought it worked, but it just occurred to me today that I'd been working under an assumption that worked - and you know what they say about those. ;) THank you for the reassurance.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 14:14

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