Why is finance charge so confusing?

Last week, I read a story from a personal finance blog, about a first hand experience of credit card’s two-cycle billing. This was followed by an update on the post a few days later to clarify what really happened after he got a call and explanation from the credit card company. He was informed that the reason for the finance charges was actually NOT because of two-cycle billing.  Instead, the finance charges on the next month’s bill was due to “grace” period no longer applicable because of NOT paying the full outstanding balance from the previous month. In contrast, here’s an excerpt from the blog on what two-cycle billing means.

“Two cycle billing is when a company computes finance charges on the average daily balance of the last 60 days rather than just the last 30 days. What that means is that they will go back two billing periods before the cardholder sent in their payment, and average the daily balance of all 60 days.”

Reading through the blog post, I wondered how come financial terms are very confusing.  I definitely agree that the best way to not experience the “two-cycle” billing or “grace” period headaches is to pay the full amount every month.  It makes better financial sense.  If you can’t do that, perhaps, it’s a good idea to learn how to protect yourself from credit card debt by some other means.

Why can’t financial terms be simple, the way red, green and yellow means stop, go and go slow on a traffic light?  Ever since my credit card debt, I’ve tried to read books on financial literacy to help me get familiar with financial terms.  Reading Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad book helped me realize that money is actually flowing, hence the term “cash flow”.  I learned that money is never lost, it is just transferred from one person to another.  The only question is, is money flowing to you? or is money flowing out of you? As for finance charges, it is money flowing from your wallet to the credit card company. 🙂

I’d really love to learn more about finances and minimize my confusion.  It is my hope that sharing my own experiences with money will also help clear the confusion among others.

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