How Credit Card Minimum Payments Are Calculated (By Issuer)

You know that each month your credit card company sends you a bill and that each month it requires a “minimum payment” you must make in order to avoid defaulting on the card loan. But how does the credit card company decide what your minimum payment should be?

There is no standard formula for calculating a minimum payment. Each card-issuing bank creates its own formula. Below are the minimum payment formulas for the major U.S. card issuers. For all card issuers, any past due amounts or amounts you’ve charged over your credit limit would also be added to the numbers below.

  • American Express: Minimum payment is always at least $35 (unless your balance is under $35, in which case you must pay the complete balance). However, if the amount of the following formula — (interest charges + 1% of current balance) — is over $35, that will be the method for determining your minimum payment.
  • Bank of America: Minimum payment is 1% of your balance plus any new interest charges for the month and any late fees (if applicable).


  • Barclaycard: Minimum payment is always at least $20 (unless your balance is under $20, in which case you must pay the complete balance). However, if the amount of the following formula — (interest charges + late payment fees + 1% of current balance) — is over $20, that will be the method for determining your minimum payment.
  • Capital One: Minimum payment is always at least $25 (unless your balance is under $25, in which case you must pay the complete balance). However, if the amount of the following formula — (interest charges + late payment fees + 1% of current balance) — is over $25, that will be the method for determining your minimum payment.
  • Chase: Minimum payment is always at least $25 (unless your balance is under $25, in which case you must pay the complete balance). However, if the amount of the following formula — (interest charges + late payment fees + 1% of current balance) — is over $25, that will be the method for determining your minimum payment.
  • Citi: Minimum payment is always at least $20 (unless your balance is under $20, in which case you must pay the complete balance). However, Citi may use either of the following formulas if the calculated result is above $20: The first formula is (interest charges + late payment fees + 1% of current balance). The second formula is 1.5% of the current balance. Whichever of those formulas calculates to the higher amount will be the formula that is used in your case.
  • Discover: Minimum payment is always at least $35 (unless your balance is under $35, in which case you must pay the complete balance). However, Discover may use either of the following formulas if the calculated result is above $35: The first formula is ($20 + interest + late payment fees). The second formula is 2% of the current balance. Whichever of those formulas calculates to the higher amount will be the formula that is used in your case.
  • Wells Fargo: Minimum payment is always at least $15 (unless your balance is under $15, in which case you must pay the complete balance). However, Wells Fargo may use either of the following formulas if the calculated result is above $15: The first formula is (interest charges + late payment fees + 1% of current balance). The second formula is 2% of the current balance. Whichever of those formulas calculates to the higher amount will be the formula that is used in your case.