YOU (South Africa) - - YOU LIFESTYLE -

Credit cards usu­ally al­low up to 55 in­ter­est-free days, which can be hugely ben­e­fi­cial when you’re in a pinch. The in­ter­est-free pe­riod starts on the first day of your ac­count’s monthly state­ment cy­cle and ends on the pay­ment date.

In other words, pay­ment is due within your ac­count state­ment’s 30-day cy­cle plus 25 days. So if you make a pur­chase on day 1 of your ac­count state­ment cy­cle, you’ll have 55 days to pay it off be­fore in­ter­est will be charged. A pur­chase made on day 2 of your ac­count state­ment cy­cle will give you 54 in­ter­est-free days.

Set­tling credit card debt timeously is good for your credit record as it shows you’re a re­spon­si­ble, low-risk credit con­sumer.

If you don’t pay the in­stal­ment in time you’ll im­me­di­ately be charged in­ter­est. NOTE In­ter­est-free days are usu­ally ap­pli­ca­ble only to over-the­counter pur­chases. Us­ing your card to pay for petrol or for trans­ac­tions such as with­draw­ing or trans­fer­ring cash in­curs in­stant in­ter­est. Credit cards usu­ally come with monthly ad­min­is­tra­tion fees as well as penal­ties for late pay­ment and cash with­drawals.

Be­cause us­ing a credit card is so con­ve­nient, it’s easy to get into debt. Use yours only when you ab­so­lutely have to and al­ways try to pay off the debt within the in­ter­est-free pe­riod.

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