December 19, 2014

# Mesa teen develops App to mitigate credit card debt

Science Helps, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people through practical application of science, today announced that Antonio Ferris, a 15-year-old sophomore at BASIS Mesa High School has released a new Android Application called “Cost of Credit.”  The App is free of charge and can be downloaded here.

“Someone with credit card debt shouldn’t have to pay for an App to help them,” says Ferris. “I decided that I would build it and I just hope it can help people avoid financial pitfalls.” said Ferris.

The Cost of Credit App allows consumers to input the cost of an item and then will compute the true cost of the item if they only make minimum payments.  Users can adjust the default interest rate as well as change the monthly payment to anything (so long as it is at or above the minimum).  It took Ferris the summer to finish 80 percent of the project, much quicker than anticipated, as he was able to use Axure’s RP prototyping tool due to their Good Student Discount Program.

Ferris loves math and for fun he will create math problems for his parents to figure out. “Sometimes I stump them,” he smiles.

Ferris quickly found the difficulty with credit card calculation is the need for recursion, meaning that the calculations need to adjust as the principal is paid down.  “It was a great moment when my program generated the correct results. This was my first Android program, so everything was a brand new experience for me,” he added.

Ferris determined that making just the minimum monthly payment on charges can be hugely costly – a \$1,000 item can end up costing \$2,397. One of the most popular and powerful items of his App is a button labeled “Pay \$10 More,” which calculates the results from paying \$10 more than the minimum payment.  “People are shocked when they realize that paying just \$10 more per month, a \$1,000 item ends up costing them \$1,397, instead of \$2,397,” he says. “That is a \$1,000 savings on a \$1,000 item just by paying \$10 more every month. My goal is that this free program will help save people thousands of dollars and learn how to correctly manage and mitigate debt.”

For those who don’t have an android, the Cost of Credit calculator is also available for free.