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Using Online Credit Card Calculators as a Personal Finance Tool

By , CardRatings contributor
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Using Online Credit Card Calculators as a Personal Finance Tool

The Web has greatly enhanced the availability of helpful resources pertaining to personal finance. Online financial calculators are a perfect example of how the Web is aiding consumers in making wise choices about credit. Online calculators are becoming increasingly popular financial tools and, while calculators are quite "user-friendly", there are some tips that consumers should consider when using calculators. It is our hope that the following suggestions will help consumers take full advantage of the calculators located on our site and elsewhere on the internet.

* Our first suggestion is to choose a calculator that addresses your individual credit related needs. There are a wide variety of calculators available and each calculator is geared for a particular financial situation. In the credit card calculators section of our site, for instance, several calculators are available and each calculator serves a unique purpose. While the aim of most calculators is to help consumers compare credit offers based on interest rates and annual fees, some calculators help consumers decide if they should consolidate their debts, if they should choose a "reward credit card" over a "low rate credit card", etc. Thus, being cognizant of the fact that each calculator serves an individual purpose is important.

* Determining the exact purpose of a given calculator can be somewhat confusing. There are two helpful tips to consider when trying to determine the purpose of an online calculator. First of all, there is often a link for each calculator that contains a description of the calculator. Secondly, there is often an "explanation" tab on each calculator gives a more detailed description of the calculator's purpose. You can always click on the "explanation tab" before actually attempting to use a calculator.

* Experimentation is perhaps the best way to become familiar with how to effectively utilize calculators. You can learn about the benefits of each calculator without actually entering any personal data because sample data is included with each calculator. After viewing the sample data on the "inputs" tab, simply click on the "results" tab and the "graphs" tab to see how a calculator processes the data (the "graphs" tab is simply a graphical illustration of the "results" tab).

* Finally, have fun with online calculators! While most people feel that analyzing credit terms is a tedious and painstaking process, online calculators make this process extremely simple. What's more, many consumers actually enjoy using online calculators...so much so that they can be addictive. The most fun aspect of online calculator usage, though, is the end result. After all, what could be more fun than saving potentially thousands of dollars in finance charges or choosing the most profitable credit card reward program? :0)

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