Paying off your credit card

Making your payments on time

You can choose to pay your balance in different ways such as:

The payment method you choose can affect how quickly the issuer processes it and the date they consider it paid. The time to process your payment will also vary depending on your financial institution. Make sure you know when your issuer will process your payment to avoid making a late payment.

Issuers process credit card payments during business days from Monday to Friday. If a payment is due on a weekend or holiday, you can make your payment the following business day. This will count as paying on time.

Contact your credit card issuer to find out how long it takes to process different payment methods.

Making at least the minimum payment

Make at least the minimum payment if you can’t pay off your balance. The minimum payment is the minimum amount you must pay each month on your credit card balance.

Your minimum payment will be:

Your credit agreement will tell you which method your credit card issuer uses to calculate your minimum payment.

Paying only the minimum amount means:

Increasing your monthly payment will shorten the time it will take you to pay off your balance. Even a small amount will shorten the time by a lot. 

Since August 1, 2023, the credit card minimum payment for Quebec residents is 4%. The rate will increase by 0.5% until it reaches 5% in 2025.

Table 1: Cost and time to pay off your credit card when you make only the minimum payment and when you increase your monthly payment
Payment scenarios Starting balance Payment amount Interest rate Time required to pay off balance Interest paid Total amount paid
Scenario 1: You pay only the minimum each month $2,000 $60 18% 3 years, 11 months $793 $2,793
Scenario 2: You pay the minimum plus $100 each month $2,000 $160 18% 1 year, 2 months $231 $2,231

Use the Credit Card Payment Calculator to compare your payment options.

Your credit card issuer may be a federally regulated financial institution. In that case, your credit card statements must include the time required to pay off your balance by only paying the minimum amount.

Learn more about the information your financial institution must give you about your credit card.​

Payment holidays

Your credit card issuer may offer you a payment holiday. This means they'll let you skip a payment. You'll still pay interest.

Your credit card issuer may be a federally regulated financial institution. In this case, they must clearly tell you if you'll pay interest when you skip a payment. This information must come with the payment holiday offer.

For information on payment holidays, check the terms of your credit card agreement. You can also contact your credit card issuer. Ask questions about anything you don't understand.

How credit card issuers apply payments to your balance

If you don’t pay your credit card balance by the due date, you’ll pay interest.

Different interest rates may apply to different types of credit card transactions. For example, cash advances often have a higher interest rate than purchases. This means different interest rates will apply to your balance depending on how you use your credit card.

Typically, your minimum payment will apply to the portion of your balance with the lowest interest rate. Any amount you pay over the minimum payment applies in one of the following 2 ways:

Your credit card issuer may be a federally regulated financial institution. In this case, they can decide how they'll apply your minimum payment to your balance.

Check your credit card agreement or ask your credit card issuer how they apply payments to your balance.

Missing or making late payments

If you don’t pay at least the minimum payment or you make a late payment, you risk:

Filing a complaint about your credit card issuer

Federally regulated financial institutions must have a process to resolve disputes between consumers and their financial institutions.

Find the complaint-handling process for your financial institution.

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