7 Things to Know About Your Credit Card Billing Statement

A woman reviews her credit card billing statement
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Each month, your credit card issuer will send you a billing statement. This important document is important and necessary for maintaining your credit card account and keeping it in good standing.

What is a credit card billing statement?

A billing statement is a periodic (usually monthly) statement that lists all the purchases, payments and other debits and credits made to your credit card account within the billing cycle.

While your credit card statement may be long and packed with information, it's important that you read each of your billing statements each month. At the very least, review your balance, minimum payment, and the list of transactions made to your account.

What's on the billing statement?

Your billing statement lists everything you need to know about your credit card account. It includes:

  • Your previous balance
  • The minimum payment due
  • The payment due date
  • Late fee that will be charged if you pay late
  • A summary and detailed list of payments, credits, purchases, balance transfers, cash advances, fees, interest, and other debits made to your account
  • A breakdown of the types of balances on your account and the interest rate and interest charges for each
  • Your credit limit and available credit
  • The number of days in your billing period
  • Total amount of interest and fees paid year-to-date
  • Contact information for your credit card issuer
  • Rewards earned, if applicable

Your credit card statement will include a minimum payment disclosure detailing the amount of time it will take to pay off your balance if you only make the minimum payment and the total amount you'll end up paying. It will also include the monthly payment to make if you want to pay your balance off in three years.

Your credit card billing statement will also include a late payment warning that tells you the impact of sending your payment late - a late payment and penalty rate increase.

There will be a phone number you can call if you're having trouble making payments would like more information about credit counseling.

When does your billing statement come?

Your billing statement is sent at the end of each billing cycle to the mailing address on file with your credit card issuer. 

Law requires that credit card billing statements be sent at least 21 days before the due date so you have time to make your credit card payment on time and avoid finance charges if a grace period applies to your balance.

If you've signed up for paperless billing, meaning you view your credit card statements online rather than receive a mailed paper statement, you'll receive an email letting you know your bill is available to view online. Paperless statements are simply electronic versions of your mailed statement. To view your paperless statement, log on to your online credit card account and look for a link to access your statement.

Many credit card issuers make billing statements available online, even if you haven't enrolled in paperless billing.

You'll likely need a PDF reader to view the paperless version of your billing statement.

Make sure your credit card issuer has your correct mailing or email address so you receive your credit card statements or email alerts related to your statement.

Will you receive a statement if your card is closed?

You'll still continue to receive a monthly billing statement on a closed account until you've paid off your credit card balance. When you close your account, you're still responsible for making regular monthly payment and you can still be charged interest and fees on your outstanding balance. However, you won't be able to make additional charges on your account.

Review your statement, even if your account is closed, to be sure that transactions are accurate.

What to do if there are errors on your billing statement?

One of the most important reasons that you should thoroughly review your credit card statement is to verify that everything is correct.

If you spot a billing error, you have the right to dispute it with the credit card issuer. But, you have to make the dispute within 60 days that the credit card statement was mailed to you.

Many credit card issuers will resolve your dispute if you simply make a phone call. However, to protect your rights under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you need to send a letter detailing your dispute. This way, you have proof that you disputed the billing error if the credit card issuer doesn't resolve the issue and you have to complain to a government agency (like the CFPB) or sue your credit card issuer. It's ok to start the process with a phone call and then follow up with a letter.

All transactions aren't listed on your billing statement.

Your billing statement only includes account activity within your billing cycle. Transactions you made before or after the start and end of the billing cycle won't appear on your billing statement. Check the top of your credit card statement for the billing cycle dates. 

You can log on to your online account to see a list of transactions that have posted to your account since your billing statement was prepared. You'll have to look for a copy of a previous credit card statement if you need to see a transaction that occurred before the billing cycle for your current credit card statement

What if you don't receive a billing statement?

You may not receive a billing statement if your account balance is zero and there was no activity on your account within the previous billing cycle. If your credit card issuer doesn't have your correct address, for example you moved recently and haven't given your new address to your credit card issuer, you may not receive a billing statement.

For new credit card accounts, it can take several weeks to receive your first statement, longer depending on when the first transaction posts to your account.

Call your credit card issuer if you don't receive a credit card statement for a particular month, especially if there may be a payment due.