What is a credit card grace period?
How a grace period can help you avoid interest charges—and how to get it back if you lose it.
If you’re looking for ways to avoid unnecessary expenses right now, it’s worth learning about credit card grace periods.
A credit card grace period can give you a little bit of breathing room between when you use your card to make a purchase and when you actually have to pay interest. And if you use it correctly, a grace period could help you avoid paying any interest on your purchases.
What is a grace period on a credit card?
A grace period is a length of time when you may not be charged interest on your credit card purchases. If your card has a grace period, different factors might impact whether the grace period applies to a purchase—like whether you’ve paid your previous balance in full by the due date each month.
You can check your credit card’s terms and conditions to see if your credit card has a grace period.
What is the typical grace period for a credit card?
A grace period is usually between 25 and 55 days.
Keep in mind that a credit card grace period is not an extension of your due date. If you pay less than the full balance, miss a credit card payment or pay your bill late, your credit card issuer will charge you interest. And if you missed a payment or paid late, you’ll typically be charged a late fee too.
How does a credit card grace period work?
A credit card grace period allows you to buy something but not pay interest on it for a certain amount of time—as long as you’ve been paying your balance in full.
Say you make a purchase with your card. Then, at the end of your billing cycle, you get a statement that shows your payment due date. If you aren’t carrying a balance from your previous cycle and you pay your current balance in full on or before the due date, you can avoid triggering an interest charge on your purchase.
Here’s an example of how that might work:
- You buy a $200 vacuum cleaner with your credit card on April 1.
- Your billing cycle ends on April 3, and your payment is due April 28.
- As long as you’re not carrying a balance and you pay in full on or before April 28, you won’t owe any interest on your vacuum cleaner.
If you plan ahead, you could stretch your interest-free period even longer. Say you purchase that vacuum on April 4 instead. It would be almost a whole month before the transaction shows up on your next statement.
When am I eligible for a credit card grace period?
Every credit card is different. But you typically qualify for a grace period only if you’ve been paying your full balance on time every billing cycle. If that’s the case with your card, you should remain eligible for a credit card grace period unless you start carrying a balance past your payment due date.
What happens if I don’t pay my full balance?
You might lose your credit card’s grace period if you don’t pay your full balance by the due date. Even if you pay only part of your balance, you’ll be charged interest. And if you’re late paying your minimum payment, you’ll likely be charged a late fee too.
It’s important to remember that if you lose your grace period, you’ll begin to accrue interest on purchases starting on the date of the transaction.
But there’s good news: If you lose your grace period, you might be able to get it back. Usually, you just have to start paying your balance in full and on time again.
What types of transactions aren’t eligible for a grace period?
Credit card grace periods typically apply only to purchases. On other transactions, you’re sometimes charged interest right away. For example, most credit cards don’t provide a grace period on cash advances or balance transfers. You may also be charged a fee for these types of transactions.
Keep in mind that a balance transfer could have a 0% APR for a limited time. But after the introductory period ends, your interest rate will usually increase.
Check your card’s terms and conditions to find out whether you have a grace period and which kinds of transactions it covers. It could be especially important if you’re considering credit card consolidation, which involves a balance transfer.
Is there a grace period for Capital One credit cards?
As long as you’ve paid your previous balance in full by the due date each month, the grace period for Capital One consumer credit cards includes both
- The time from purchase until the end of the billing cycle.
- At least 25 days from the end of each billing cycle until the payment due date.
Using your credit card’s grace period
If you have a grace period, you can use it to give yourself some added time between when you make purchases using your credit card and when you actually have to pay for those purchases. And if you keep track of your billing cycle and pay your full balance on time every month, a grace period can help you avoid any interest charges on purchases.
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