How do Credit Card Companies Make Money?

by | Jun 28, 2021

Have you ever wondered how credit card companies can afford to offer cash rewards, airline miles, and all the perks that come with using their credit cards? When comparing credit cards and looking for the best credit card, you will be amazed at the 0% interest rate offers and wonder how to deal with people who pay interest-free bills? If you’re wondering how credit card companies make money, here are some of the ways

Grace period

Typical grace periods for credit cards are 20 to 30 days. The grace period is the period that credit card companies allow you to pay your bill without interest. It is a good idea to find a credit card that offers an extended grace period. So you can enjoy the purchasing power of credit cards without having to pay the high-interest rates that come with them. It’s important to note that not all credit cards offer a grace period. Therefore, interest will be charged on purchases made with this type of credit card.

Introductory fee

Most credit card companies offer some introductory tariffs for new cardholders. Before committing to an offer, you should find out how long the initial pricing period lasts. It would be best if you also determined what the introductory tariff covers. So only for new purchases or also for credit transfers? It is important to note that you will lose your introductory fee if you delay payment during the initial period. It is also common for the debt to accrue interest retrospectively if the amount is not paid before the introductory period ends.

Universal standard clause

Credit card companies routinely check your credit file to see what type of payment activity you are viewing. Believe it or not, credit card companies will raise your interest rates if you delay one of your bills, not just theirs! For example, if you default on paying your home loan, the APR on your credit card will increase! Hence, you must pay all of your monthly bills on time.

Interest and Fees

Lenders generate income primarily from interest and credit card fees. Technically, you pay interest as a fee for using your balance or the revolving credit card balance. However, since you are paying your bills with creditors’ money, you must pay them for the service as well. Most borrowers’ most common mistake is assuming that their interest rates will stay the same over many years. Unfortunately, interest rates are heavily influenced by your creditworthiness, which can increase or decrease interest rates. Creditors are alarmed when they see a cardholder with a low credit score, so they need something to make sure the person pays their debts. That’s why they raise interest rates.

Fees are something that most credit card holders have to deal with. Almost everything that violates the contract is chargeable. Late payments and overspending (exceeding the credit limit) are subject to charges. Some lenders even charge hidden fees that you wouldn’t know about if you haven’t read the fine print. Also, most credit card holders seem to forget that many cards have an annual membership fee at the end of the year. Late payment fees and credit limit excess fees can range from twenty to forty dollars.


The interest rates associated with your credit card increase in the event of late payment. Penalties are charged by more than 80% of all credit card issuers. Not only does your interest rate rise to around 24%, but it also has a negative impact on your creditworthiness. This increase is costly, especially for those with low rates of 7-12%. The APR fine will be reduced after approximately 6 months of timely payments.

Annual fees

The bank borrows money from 1% to 4% savers, which allows the credit card to make big profits. Annual fees on cards are another way to make money, but most credit cards don’t have annual fees unless you have poor or no credit, then you will have to pay the annual fees. And some offer low-interest rates. If so, they have annual fees. So if you’re paying high interest on your balance, it can make sense to transfer it to a cheaper card with a yearly fee.Credit card companies only charge this fee for maintaining an account with them. Therefore, not all credit cards have annual fees. However, almost any reward card or credit card for people with poor credit scores comes with fees. Average annual fee costs can range from $ 25 to $ 50, but those with poor credit ratings can expect higher fees.

Merchant fees

Merchant fees are the second part of the revenue pie. Every time you buy plastic, the merchant who made the sale for you pays a transaction and service fee to the credit card company. So if you spend £ 100 on your kitchen set up at John Lewis, the shop will deliver £ 2-3 as a processing fee to the card-issuing company. Why should they eat like this at their profit margin? – They sell more when they accept credit cards. – You manage to reduce the turnover of cash by the branch employees by eliminating one of their streams of losses.

Minimum payments

This is the smallest amount you have to pay each month and is usually defined as a balanced percentage. For example, you might have to pay 5% of your balance this month. So if you owe $ 500, you have to pay $ 25 per month. Card companies want you to make the minimum monthly payment as it takes up to four times longer to settle your balance than a fixed payment. This increases the interest on your account and ensures that you stay in the vicious circle of debt.

Fixed annual percentage rate of charge

Credit card companies can change the amount of interest they charge at any time and for any reason. Therefore, the APR should cause the company to notify you if they intend to change the APR for any reason not described in their terms and conditions. However, the reality is that in most cases, a fixed APR means absolutely nothing as the terms and conditions have the credit card company’s right to change the interest rate at any time and for any reason!


Always remember that credit card companies aim to make money. They are businesses like any other, so they will try to make money any legal way. The best thing you can do to protect yourself from these predators is to be informed. Never apply for a credit card without reading the fine print, and always keep your finances under control, so you don’t go into debt.