Interest rate calculators for every need

Calculator on paper with interest rates

Researching interest rates before you take out a loan might seem a bit daunting at first -- interest rates change daily, and there are numerous different types of loans -- but interest rate calculators can help simplify the process before you ever sit down in front of a loan officer or fill out a form online.

You know how much you want to borrow; now you need to know what the lender will charge you for the privilege of using their money over the next few years or, as in the case of buying a home, the next few decades. Interest rate calculators show you how much a loan will cost you.

For homeowners considering refinancing a mortgage, for instance, a mortgage calculator provides payments and costs.

By plugging in a few basic figures from the comfort of your own computer, you can weigh the pros and cons of refinancing.

The calculators work well for smaller amounts, too.

Consumers who are trying to control their credit card spending can use a credit card balance transfer calculator whether it makes sense to switch card companies.

Interest rate calculators can be eye-opening: You might not realize how much a vacation condo will really cost you until you look at the long-term picture.

With daily changes to interest rates, it’s also a good idea to check regularly on the prime interest rate.

That rate affects lenders of all kinds β€” such as banks and credit card companies β€” so it pays for borrowers to stay on top of where the rates are going.