Average Outstanding Balance


When it comes to managing our finances, understanding key concepts is crucial. One such concept is the average outstanding balance. Whether you're dealing with credit cards, loans, or any other form of debt, the average outstanding balance plays a significant role in determining your financial health. In this article, we will explore what the average outstanding balance is, how it is calculated, and why it is important for individuals and businesses alike.

What is Average Outstanding Balance?

The average outstanding balance refers to the average amount of money owed on a credit card or loan over a specific period of time. It is calculated by adding up the outstanding balances at the end of each day and dividing it by the number of days in the billing cycle or loan term. This calculation provides a snapshot of the average amount owed during that period.

For example, let's say you have a credit card with a billing cycle of 30 days. At the end of each day, the outstanding balance is recorded. At the end of the billing cycle, the sum of all the daily balances is divided by 30 to calculate the average outstanding balance for that month.

Calculating Average Outstanding Balance

To calculate the average outstanding balance, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Record the outstanding balance at the end of each day for the given period.
  2. Add up all the daily balances.
  3. Divide the sum by the number of days in the period.

Let's consider an example to illustrate this calculation. Suppose you have a loan with a term of 60 days, and the outstanding balance at the end of each day is as follows:

  • Day 1: $1,000
  • Day 2: $900
  • Day 3: $800
  • Day 60: $100

To calculate the average outstanding balance, you would add up all the daily balances and divide the sum by 60:

(1,000 + 900 + 800 + … + 100) / 60 = Average Outstanding Balance

Importance of Average Outstanding Balance

The average outstanding balance is an important metric for both individuals and businesses. Here's why:

1. Financial Planning

For individuals, knowing their average outstanding balance helps in financial planning. It provides insights into their debt levels and allows them to budget and allocate funds accordingly. By understanding the average amount owed, individuals can make informed decisions about their spending habits and debt repayment strategies.

2. Interest Calculation

When it comes to credit cards and loans, interest is typically charged based on the outstanding balance. The average outstanding balance is used to calculate the interest accrued during a specific period. By knowing the average outstanding balance, individuals can estimate the interest charges they will incur and plan their payments accordingly.

3. Creditworthiness

For businesses and individuals seeking credit, lenders often consider the average outstanding balance as an indicator of creditworthiness. A high average outstanding balance may suggest a higher risk of default, making it more challenging to obtain favorable loan terms or credit limits. By keeping the average outstanding balance low, individuals and businesses can improve their creditworthiness and increase their chances of obtaining credit at favorable terms.

Case Study: Credit Card Debt

Let's consider a case study to understand the impact of average outstanding balance on credit card debt. Sarah has a credit card with a $5,000 limit and an interest rate of 18% per annum. She has been carrying a balance on her card for the past six months, and her average outstanding balance during this period has been $3,000.

If Sarah continues to maintain an average outstanding balance of $3,000, let's see how it affects her finances:

  • Interest Charges: Sarah's credit card charges an annual interest rate of 18%. With an average outstanding balance of $3,000, she would incur interest charges of $540 per year ($3,000 * 0.18).
  • Debt Repayment: If Sarah decides to pay off her credit card debt over a year, she would need to make monthly payments of approximately $250 ($3,000 / 12). This calculation assumes that she only pays the interest charges and does not make any additional purchases.

By understanding her average outstanding balance, Sarah can plan her debt repayment strategy and budget her monthly payments accordingly. She can also explore options to reduce her average outstanding balance, such as making larger payments or reducing her credit card usage.


The average outstanding balance is a crucial metric when it comes to managing debt and understanding financial health. By calculating the average amount owed over a specific period, individuals and businesses can make informed decisions about their finances. It helps in financial planning, interest calculation, and improving creditworthiness. Understanding the impact of the average outstanding balance can empower individuals to take control of their debt and work towards achieving financial stability.

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