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Chase Blueprint Review: How to Avoid Interest and Pay Down Debts

Jan. 11, 2012
Credit Card Basics, Credit Cards
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Chase Blueprint is an interactive, online personal finance planner, attached to select credit cards including the Chase Slate®, Chase Freedom®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, among others. Its user-friendly interface and detailed graphic displays create a convenient and personalized budgeting experience. Not only does Blueprint provide assistance in the obliteration of debt, but it actually allows you to avert interest on select purchases while still carrying a balance. Here’s how Chase Blueprint works and why we recommend it to anyone with a credit card.

Chase breaks Blueprint into 4 categories: Full Pay, Split, Finish It and Track It.

1. Full Pay

Full Pay is the most noteworthy feature in the Blueprint suite, providing the only service that truly exceeds your ability as a customer. While Blueprint’s other components are hugely advantageous in personal finance management, they are, essentially, tools for organizing information—nothing you couldn’t accomplish with pen and paper. Full Pay, on the other hand, provides something special.

When you carry a credit card balance and fail to pay it off in its entirety by the due date, you’ll typically incur interest on the total balance, regardless of what portion you’ve successfully paid. For example, if you accumulate $500 in charges and pay off $450 before the grace period ends, you’re still required to pay interest on the full $500. A little unfair, right? Blueprint agrees.

Using Full Pay, you can select purchase categories you’d like to pay in full each month. These categories will tend to be day-to-day transactions you can generally afford to pay down immediately—gas, groceries, transportation, etc. When you pay the full amount of your category purchases before the end of the billing period, you won’t pay interest on those charges—even if you haven’t paid off your total balance.

For example, say you spend $1,000 in a given month, including $300 in groceries and $100 in gas. Unfortunately, you were only able to pay off $700 before the due date. Most credit cards would have you pay interest on the full $1,000. But if you use Blueprint to select gas and groceries as Full Pay categories, those charges are exempt from interest, meaning you only pay interest on $600. It’s a smarter, shrewder method of meting out interest.

» MORE: How to pay off debt

2. Split

The Split feature creates plans for paying through large purchases. You choose either how many payments you’d like to make or how much you’d like to pay each month. Using your APR and purchase total, Split does a little math and spits out a payment plan. Your bank statement comes with a breakdown of your Split progress to keep you on track. Split payment plans are not binding, and you can cancel or deviate from them at any time. Split is a tool for mapping payments, not a contract.

3. Finish It

Finish It is nearly identical to Split. The two are only different in that it Split is intended for large, singular purchases, whereas Finish It aims to blast through accumulative balances. Much like its counterpart, Finish It allows you to choose either a monthly payment amount or a desired number of payments. Making calculations with your APR and balance total, it creates a plan for paying down your balance. Like Split, your Finish It progress appears on your bank statement to let you know how you’re doing. Again, it is not binding, and you can drop or alter your plan at any time.

4. Track It

Track It is a budgeting tool. Straightforward and easy-to-use, you simply enter individual budgets for a list of spending categories (travel, drugstores, entertainment, etc.), and Track It keeps an eye on your purchases. With graphic displays of your spending, it’s easy to see where your money is going and how closely you’re following your budget. Track It is available online and updates simultaneously along with your account activity.

All in all, Chase Blueprint is a neat little feature. It’s especially useful for people who don’t consider themselves finance gurus. By doing the math and creating simple but effective visual presentations of your spending, Blueprint saves on time and headaches. If you’d like to give it a spin before you sign up, Chase has a great online demo you can click through.

Information about the Chase Slate® has been collected independently by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuer of this card.