When you have a big expense, breaking up payments can be a financial lifesaver. Many banks and credit card companies offer options to split significant purchases into manageable monthly installments. This can make big-ticket items more accessible without straining your budget. Sounds great, right? Well, wait just a minute… There are a few essential things to consider to make sure it’s a solid financial decision. Here’s what you need to know about breaking payments up with your bank or credit card.

1. Understanding installment plans

What are installment plans? 

Installment plans let you pay for a large purchase over a set period, usually in equal monthly payments. These plans can be offered directly by your bank or credit card issuer. The appeal is clear: you can enjoy your purchase now and pay for it over time.

Types of installment plans:

– Bank loans: Personal loans from your bank that you repay in installments. These can be used for a variety of purposes, including home improvements, medical expenses, or consolidating debt.

– Credit card installments: Some credit cards offer installment options for specific purchases, allowing you to convert a purchase into fixed monthly payments at a set interest rate.

2. Interest rates and fees

Interest charges:

Not all installment plans are created equal. The interest rate can vary widely depending on the provider and your credit score. Some credit card installment plans may offer promotional 0% APR for a set period, while others might have higher interest rates than regular credit card purchases.


Be aware of any additional fees associated with installment plans. These can include setup fees, early repayment fees, or monthly service charges. Always read the fine print to understand the total cost of the installment plan.

3. Impact on credit score

Credit utilization:

Using installment plans can affect your credit utilization ratio, which is a key factor in your credit score. Keeping your credit utilization low (below 30% of your available credit) is generally good for your credit score.

Credit inquiries:

Applying for a bank loan or a new credit card installment plan may result in a hard inquiry on your credit report. Too many hard inquiries in a short period can negatively impact your credit score.

4. Budgeting and financial planning

Monthly budget:

Adding a monthly payment to your budget requires careful planning. Make sure you can comfortably afford the new payment without compromising your ability to cover other essential expenses. Use a budgeting app like Brigit to track your spending and stay on top of your financial obligations.

Emergency fund:

Maintaining an emergency fund is crucial. Don’t burn your emergency savings for a large purchase if you can opt for an installment plan instead. This way, you retain liquidity for unexpected expenses while managing your large purchase over time.

5. Pros and cons


– Manageable payments: Spreading the cost over several months makes large purchases more affordable.

– Access to high-quality items: Installment plans can allow you to buy better quality products or services that you might not afford upfront.

– Build credit: Regular, on-time payments can help improve your credit score.


– Interest and fees: Depending on the terms, you might end up paying more than the purchase price due to interest and fees.

– Debt accumulation: It’s easy to overextend yourself by taking on multiple installment plans, leading to increased debt.

– Commitment: You’re locked into monthly payments, which can be a burden if your financial situation changes unexpectedly.