Credit Card Dates You Need to Know

Paying credit card bill

Peter Cade / Getty Images

When it comes to your credit cards, dates are important. While your payment due date is arguably the most important of all credit card dates, there are a few other dates you need to know.

Your Payment Due Date

This may be the most important date to know. The due date is the date by which you must make at least the minimum credit card payment to avoid being charged a late fee or to pay your credit card balance in full and avoid a finance charge.

Fortunately, your credit card payment due date will be the same every month. This makes it much easier to keep up with. For example, you’ll know the payment for your ACME Rewards credit card is due on the 15th each month. Print out a calendar and write your credit card payment due dates on it so you can keep up with them better.

If you need to change your due date, for example, if your current due date conflicts with your payday or another major due date, contact your credit card issuer. Most will let you switch your due date at least one time.

Your Account Statement Closing Date

Your credit card's statement closing date is a very important date to know and understand. The account statement closing date is the date that your credit card statement is generated. All the transactions between the last statement closing date and this one will be included on your next billing statement.

If you're tight on cash, waiting until a few days after your statement closes will give you the maximum amount of time to pay off any new purchases made on your card. New charges are due 30 days after they're made on your card, and credit card companies are required by law to give you at least 21 days of grace period after the statement closing date to make your payment.

This means that, if you pay off your card each month, you have at least 21 days to pay the balance before you get charged any interest. Beware that, because of the number of days in your card's billing cycle, your account statement closing date can vary a few days from one month to the next.

The account statement closing date is also the date that many credit card issuers report your credit card information to the credit bureaus. Contact your credit card issuer to find out for sure, so you ensure a lower credit utilization is updated on your credit report.

Your Credit Card Expiration Date

The credit card expiration date is either embossed on the front of your credit card or imprinted on the back of your credit card. Be aware of which credit cards are expiring soon, so you won’t have the inconvenience of being caught in the store with an expired credit card as your only method of payment.

Some credit card issuers automatically send a replacement credit card at the beginning of the month that your credit card is set to expire. If it gets close to the end of the month and you haven’t received a new credit card, contact your credit card issuer. You may not be able to make purchases with an expired credit card.

The Date You’ll Pay off Your Balance

If you’re paying just the minimum payment, it can take a very long time to pay off your credit card balance. Check your recent billing statement; it will tell you the number of years and months it will take to pay off your balance if you pay only the minimum.

If you’re paying another amount, you can use a credit card calculator to figure out when you’ll be done paying off that credit card balance. Remember that fees and purchases will increase your payoff balance and impact your credit card payoff time.

Don't worry if you can't remember each of these dates for all your credit cards. You can use a bill checklist to keep up with your payment due date, check your billing statement for the closing date, look at your credit card for the expiration date, and use a payment calculator or your billing statement to gauge your credit card payoff date.