Having watched Frontline on PBS today, November 28th, 2006, in which they talked about the "Secret History of the Credit Card" and how consumers are not being shown how long it would take to pay off their loan if they only make the minimum payment, I decided that consumers should be able to find out for themselves on the internet. Searching for a calculator on the internet was not as easy as it first appeared, but I finally found this calculator. It is surprisingly easy to use.

Enter the total amount you owe in the left box (A) (Dollar Amount Charged), say $1000, and the annual interest rate in the next box (B), say 18%. In the next box (c), enter the minimum payment percentage, say 2.5 percent, and enter 10 in the next box (d), as shown in the instructions in the table below. Then click compute. This calculator shows you how many payments you will need to make and how many years that will take. It will also show you how much you will pay in interest during that time. In this example, you will make 153 payments, which will take 12.75 years (or twelve years and nine months), and you will pay $1115.44 in interest. Once borrowers know how long it will take to pay off the loan and how much the loan will cost them in interest payments, borrowers will quickly understand the concept of usury money and will pay off the loan as quickly as possible!

Now click the reset button and look at your latest credit card statement. Enter the current balance, the interest rate, the minimum payment percentage and amount. Then click compute.

Below are more calculators:

If you click on the first link below, a new page will open with a loan calculator.

First, I will ignore the "select a card type" box. Then I enter the credit card balance in the first box, say $1000. Select the interest rate on your credit card, say 18%. The minimum payment is automatically calculated at 2.5% of the total balance, unless you change the percentage figure. I am ignoring it. I enter the fixed payment amount in the last box and click on fixed payment below it, followed by clicking on the "calculate" button.

The result on the next page is a long table that looks complicated. Just go to the bottom line: the bottom left box shows the number of payments you must make at that fixed amount. In this example, the number of payments is 153, or twelve years and nine months, which is frightening! The bottom right box shows the final balance of the loan at $0.00.

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