If you have a credit card, there are two very important dates you’ll want to keep track of—the statement closing date and the payment due date. Learn the differences between these two dates, why each one matters, and how to stay on top of your credit card bills.
- Your statement closing date is when you receive your credit card statement.
- You generally have 21 days after your statement closing date to pay your credit card bill.
- Your payment due date is your deadline for making an on-time payment.
- If you don't pay your balance off in full by your payment due date, you will need to start making interest payments.
Statement Closing Date vs. Payment Due Date
It’s easy to confuse your statement closing date with your payment due date. In short, your statement closing date refers to the last day of your billing cycle. Your payment due date is the deadline by which you need to pay the credit card issuer for the billing cycle if you want to avoid paying interest.
|Statement Closing Date||Payment Due Date|
|Last day of the billing cycle||The date by which you need to pay the issuer|
|Usually occurs 20-25 days before payment due date||You must pay your balance off by this date to avoid interest charges|
Statement Closing Date
The statement closing date refers to the last day of the billing cycle. Generally, this date occurs 20-25 days before you owe your payment. On your statement closing date, you’ll be able to prepare to pay your credit card bill because the issuer will:
- Calculate any monthly interest charges owed and your minimum payment
- Post your credit card statement (your bill) to your online account, or mail it to you if you don’t do paperless billing
Payment Due Date
Your payment due date is the date your issuer expects to receive payment in full if you don’t want to pay any interest. On your statement closing date, you should receive a credit card statement that shows your total balance, your minimum payment amount, and when your minimum payment is due.
Your minimum payment refers to how much of your balance you need to pay to stay in good standing with the issuer. If your minimum payment is less than your balance, you’ll pay interest on the remaining balance—unless you’re in a promotional APR period.
Grace Periods for Major Issuers
The period between your statement closing date and payment due date is known as your grace period. Credit card companies give you a grace period so that you have time to pay your balance in full before any interest charges kick in.
The law doesn’t require a grace period, but many credit card issuers choose to offer one. If they do, legally those issuers have to send their customers their credit card statements at least 20 days before your payment due date. To avoid confusion, confirm that your credit card issuer offers a grace period and, if so, how long it is.
The following table includes the grace periods of six major credit card issuers:
|Capital One||A minimum of 25 days from the end of the billing cycle|
|American Express||At least 25 days from the end of the billing cycle|
|Chase||A minimum of 21 days from the end of the billing cycle|
|Discover||A minimum of 25 days from the end of the billing cycle (or 23 days for billing periods that begin in February)|
|Citi||A minimum of 23 days from the end of the billing cycle|
|Barclays||A minimum of 20 to 23 days from the end of the billing cycle, depending on the card|
When Is the Best Time To Pay?
The best time to pay off your monthly credit card statement is before or on the payment due date. Paying your credit card bill late not only leads to pricey interest payments but could also decrease your credit score.
Paying your credit card bill before your payment due date helps you lower your credit utilization rate (which is good for your credit score). You’ll also avoid late fees. Paying early can also save you money if you have a balance on your credit card from past billing cycles. The sooner you pay that balance off, the sooner you can stop paying interest.
To make sure you never miss a payment, set up automatic payments for your entire balance or just the minimum payment required on your due date. Just make sure you always have enough funds in the bank account you link to pay your bill.