The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Wednesday, July 17, 2024

How to Calculate APR on a Credit Card (July 2024)

How To Calculate Apr On A Credit Card
Ashley Fricker

Written by: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Advertiser Disclosure

Banks are notorious for making numbers complicated. Even something as seemingly simple as your credit card’s annual percentage rate (APR) becomes complex when trying to calculate how banks get that number. But not to fear — learning how to calculate APR on a credit card is possible, and we’ll show you how.

As a responsible consumer, you’re rightfully concerned as to how this perplexing number determines what you’re paying in interest charges. We’ve broken it all down for you as simply as possible and will show you:

  1. Three simple steps for calculating your APR
  2. How to pay no interest at all with a balance transfer
  3. The best balance transfer cards available today

We’ll take you through step by step and explain the hows and whys of each. Let’s get started with calculating your APR.

3 Steps to Calculate Your APR

It’s actually quite easy once you know the equation, which we’ll explain here.

1. Find Your Average Daily Periodic Rate

Your Average Daily Periodic Rate can be found at the bottom of your monthly statement. We’ll call it ADPR. This number will be very low and may not seem like much, but this is what you are being charged in interest on average daily. We’ll touch more on this in step 2, but for this calculation, we’ll assume it’s .04654.

2. Multiply ADPR By 365

Take the ADPR (.04654) and multiply it by 365, the number of days in a year. You use the number of days in a year because your interest compounds daily. Your ADPR represents what you are charged each day and is determined by your outstanding balance. Banks use the average balance over the entire billing cycle.

(.04654)(365) = 16.987

Note: Some credit card issuers use 360 instead of 365, according to the CFPB.

3. View Your APR

Round that number up to get 16.99% — your APR. The calculation is:

(ADPR)(365) = APR

Transfer the Balance and You Could Pay $0 Interest

If you’ve done the math and aren’t happy with what you see, there’s a way to stop paying interest for a while. It’s called a 0-percent intro APR, and some cards offer them for up to 18 months.

This works by applying for a new card and transferring your current balance to the new card. You’ll receive up to 18 months of an interest-free balance AND most cards even offer 0 percent interest on purchases. This means everything charged to the new card will also be interest free for a while, depending on your agreement.

The Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards Available

Our experts are always looking for the best balance transfer cards, as they’re such a popular option among consumers today who are sick of paying sky-high interest rates. Granted, many factors determine the interest you’re being charged, but if you have good credit, you’ll likely qualify for one of these cards.

Below are a few of our experts’ top picks, but to see the full list, visit our balance transfer review page.

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 18.24% - 28.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
  • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • No Annual Fee - our low intro rates and all the benefits don’t come with a yearly charge.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% 12 months on Purchases
0% 21 months on Balance Transfers
18.24% - 28.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

Discover it® Chrome Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match for all new cardmembers–only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Get a 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers. Then 18.24% to 28.24% Standard Variable APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • Redeem your rewards for cash at any time.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
0% Intro APR for 18 months
18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.
  • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 19.24% - 29.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% Intro APR Period 18 months on Balance Transfers
19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good, Fair

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

Final Advice

By understanding your APR, you’ll be able to comprehend how interest is calculated and tacked on to your monthly bill. This should prompt you to pay your balance off every month because those interest fees can have a considerable impact on budgets. But if you carry a balance, hopefully by now you’ve decided you’re not going to settle for paying high interest (or any interest!) any longer and are ready to transfer that balance to a 0% intro APR card that will treat you better. Also, don’t forget how important it is to make your payments on time every month — having a history of on-time payments is the most important factor used when calculating your credit score.

Advertiser Disclosure

CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.