Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Weekly or monthly payments?
by Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. He's also the founder of DebtSmart.com. More about and DebtSmart can be found in the online media kit.

Scott Bilker

Scott,

I have a $6,500 signature loan @ 13.5% APR with my credit union. My minimum payment is $230.28; I always pay $321. There is no pre-payment penalty. Though the payments are due at the end of the month, I try to pay as close to the first of the month as possible, to pay the least amount of interest on the loan. A friend of mine said I should divide my payment over four weeks. Do I save more to pay a lump sum at the beginning of each month; or does it benefit me to pay equal weekly installments on the loan; like 81/wk? 

Brian

Great question!

Many people believe that they can save money by paying more frequently. It's true, but very, and I mean VERY, limited.

Let's assume the best case scenario, which is that your $81 weekly payment is applied toward the outstanding balance as soon as it is received. Given this condition, the interest charges stop accruing on the payment amount.

Now, the direct answer to your question is, "yes" you will save money paying weekly. However, it's not from paying weekly it's from increasing your monthly payment. Your original loan called for $230.28, but you pay $321 per month. If you start paying $81 per week, then you're really paying $351 per month ($81/week * 52 weeks/year * 1 year/12 months = $351/month).

It's clear that $81 per week is exactly the same as $351 per month so the question becomes, "How much does it cost to pay back a $6,500, 13.5% loan with $351 monthly payment versus paying $81 weekly?"

With $351 per month it takes exactly 20.88 months or a total of $7,328.88.

With $81 per week it takes exactly 90.1 weeks or a total of $7,298.10.

Therefore, paying $81 per week saves a total of $30.78, over the course of the loan, when compared to paying the exact same amount in monthly payments.

If you're mailing the payments to the bank then we should take postage into account. Paying monthly is 21 payments vs. 90 payments (weekly). That's an extra 69 payments, which is an extra 69, 37-cent stamps for a total of $25.53.

That reduces the total savings to $5.25 after postage.

In my opinion, saving $5.25 is not worth the effort of successfully orchestrating 69 more payments.

Hope that helps!

Note: I talk about this in even more detail in an article titled, Biweekly Mortgage May be Rip-off and the Household Math™ problem: Which Mortgage Is Better?


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