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How Long to Pay Off Balance With Minimum Payments

If you only make the minimum payment on your credit card, it could take years to pay off the balance. Not even that, you could end up spending hundreds, possibly even thousands, in interest by the time the balance is repaid.

How Minimum Payments are Calculated

Typically, minimum payments are calculated as a percentage (something like 1-3%) of your credit card balance. Late fees and over-the-limit fees can increase your minimum payment beyond the base percentage of your balance. Your credit card agreement will describe how your minimum payment is calculated.

Even though it seems like minimum payments are easier to make, they actually cost more in the long run.

Minimum Payment, Maximum Cost

Consider having a balance of $5,000, at 14% APR, and minimum payment as 2% of your credit card balance. Making minimum payments only, it would take you 22 years and $5,887 in interest payments to pay off this debt.

Increasing your payments to $125 a month would allow you to pay off the same debt in less than 6 years and spend only $1,775 in interest.

Not only does increasing your payments allow you to pay off the balance sooner, you also save money in interest.

Calculate Your Minimum Payment Timeline

To see the pay off time and cost of making minimum only credit card payments on your balances, you can use this minimum payment calculator from You might also use the pay off calculator to calculate your pay off time and cost when you make higher monthly payments.