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Credit Cards, Credit Report, Debt

How to Read Your Credit Card Statement

On Behalf of Veitengruber Law | May 31,2021

Knowing how to properly read your credit card statement is an important life skill that can help you get ahead of your debt. Errors, unnecessary fees, or fraudulent charges can all impact your bottom line. You should be reading your credit card statement thoroughly every month to ensure it is error free and accurately reflects your account activity. Here are some tips on how to read your credit card statement every month.

What should I look for on my credit card statement?

Each company will have a different format for their statements, but every statement should contain the following:

1. The balance from the previous billing cycle and how much you currently owe.
2. The minimum payment due and the due date for that payment. Some companies also provide a timeline of when you can expect your debt to be paid off if you make minimum payments. You may be surprised at how long it will take you to pay off your credit card debt. This is why whenever possible you should make more than the minimum payment.
3. A detailed list of all transactions within that billing cycle. If you notice a charge is not listed, it will likely appear on the next billing cycle. Look at the dates to see when the billing cycle ended.
4. A list of all credits made to your credit card balance during the billing cycle. This can include payments, cash rewards, or returns.
5. The interest accrued over the last billing cycle, along with your listed interest rate and the (higher) interest rate that will apply if you fail to make the minimum payment on time.

Some credit card companies have also started to include credit scores on their statements. However your company decides to report your information, it is important that you check each statement for all of the above factors.

How long is a billing cycle?

A billing cycle is normally 30 days on average. But just because it is a month long does not mean it begins and ends on the first and last day of the month. The exact start and end date of your billing cycle should be listed at the top of your statement. Keep an eye on the due date to make sure you get your payments in on time.

What is this mystery charge on my statement?

The most important reason to carefully check your credit card statement every month is to scan for any errors. If you see a charge on your account that you do not recognize, you will have 60 days to dispute it with your credit card company.

First, make note of the type of error. Check your receipts to make sure the correct amount is being charged to your credit card. If it is a purchase you did not make, it could indicate your account has been compromised.

Your options for remedying the error will vary from company to company. Some may have online platforms through which to file a complaint and others may require a phone call. Either way, it is a good idea to send a physical letter to the company and keep a copy for your record so you can prove the error was reported in writing.

If you are falling behind on credit card payments and having trouble keeping up with your debt, Veitengruber Law can help you get back on track. We offer customized debt management solutions that are unique to each client's specific situation.


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