How to Read Your Credit Card Statement

Published April 2021
Understanding your credit card statement

If you are trying to stay out of debt – It’s important to know how to read your credit card statement.

You should be looking over your statement every month for errors, unnecessary or forgotten recurring bills, fraudulent charges, etc. Take notice of your interest rate, especially if you are carrying a balance month-to-month.

Key Points: 

  • Reading your credit card statement can potentially help you stay out of debt or prevent you from going deeper into debt.
  • If you find any unexpected charges on your billing statement, file the dispute promptly as you only have 60 days to do so.
  • Your credit card statement will tell you the rate at which you will accrue interest charges if you don’t pay your bill in full each month.

Understanding your credit card statement may help you better understand your finances, and potentially even how to get out or stay out of debt.

What does a credit card statement show?

Every credit card has a different statement style but the basics are the same. If you haven’t taken a close look at your statement lately, you may be surprised to know that it shows more than just what you owe each month. Some sections you may find on your statement are:

  • The credit card statement balance for your previous billing cycle, or what is currently owed.
  • The minimum payment you owe as well as the due date. Some credit card statements may even show you how long it will take to pay off your current balance if you only pay the minimum each month. The time period will increase if you add to your balance, which you most likely will, which is why we encourage you to avoid the minimum payment trap.
  • A detailed list of transactions included in that credit card statement. Any missing transactions are likely outside of that billing cycle, the dates of which are also listed on your statement.
  • Any credit made toward your credit card balance during the cycle, including cash rewards, payments toward previous statements, or returns.
  • Any interest you’ve accrued over the past billing cycle, as well as the interest rate should you not pay your bill in full each month.
Essentially, a credit card statement can show you how much debt you have accrued and how much potential debt you can accrue if you don’t pay your bill in full. Some credit card companies have started including credit scores on their billing statements to allow users to further keep track of their financial health.

What is a statement credit?

A statement credit is any money that goes toward lowering your balance but isn’t a payment. This includes rewards you may use toward your balance. Returned purchases are also statement credits.

How long is a billing cycle?

A billing cycle is typically 30 days long. Keep in mind that just because a billing cycle is the same length as a month doesn’t necessarily mean they coincide. You can find the start and end date of each billing cycle at the top of the credit card statement.

What is this charge on my credit card?

One of the biggest reasons you should make a habit of looking at your credit card statement each month is to check it for errors. If you find an unusual or unfamiliar charge on your credit card statement, you have 60 days after receipt to do something about it.

If you do find a discrepancy, check your receipts to make sure the error isn’t on your end. If it’s a price discrepancy, read the receipt to know what the correct price should be.

The way you resolve your dispute may differ slightly depending on your credit card company. Some allow you to file the dispute right on the webpage or app but others may require you to call. It also may be a good idea to write a letter to the credit card company so that the dispute is in writing.

If your credit card statement is getting out of control due to debt, consider seeking professional help through ClearOne Advantage. Our Certified Debt Specialists are standing by to help you explore your debt relief options and work out a solution that fits your budget. Call 866-481-1597 to speak to a Certified Debt Specialist today and get a free savings estimate.

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Topics: Credit Card Debt