How to read your credit card statement

Credit card statement formats vary, but they usually always contain this kind of information.

A sample credit card statement with letters annotating each of its parts.

Understanding a credit card statement

Instructions: Click on each area of the credit card statement to learn more.

A. Account number

Your credit card account number: remember to keep it a secret, or others can use your account.

B. Closing date

The closing date of the statement is the date the credit card company created this statement.

C. Amount of your credit line

The amount of your credit line, or your spending limit.

D. Available credit

Available credit is the amount of your credit that you haven’t borrowed yet, so it’s still available to you.

E. Account summary

The account summary section summarizes your transactions.

F. Payment information

Payment information shows the total amount you now owe, which is also called your new balance.

G. Minimum payment

The minimum payment — Each month you must pay at least this portion of what you owe. If you wish, you may pay more than the minimum, up to the total amount, if you can. If you want to have good credit, and reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay, it’s a good idea to pay more than the minimum payment each month.

H. Due date

The due date — Unless your credit card company receives your payment by this date, they will begin charging you interest on the amount you owe. Most companies will also charge you a late fee. They may also increase your interest rate.

I. The Credit Card Act of 2009 information

The Credit Card Act of 2009 (or the “CARD” Act) requires credit card companies to list on your statement how long it would take to pay off your balance if you paid only the minimum payment (and didn’t add any more charges), and the total amount you’d pay over that period of time. Your statement must now also show you how much you would need to pay each month to pay off the balance in three years.

J. Rate information

Rate information shows you how the interest and fees are being calculated.

K. Transactions

In the transactions section, you’ll see a list of each charge and payment you made in date order.

L. Payment coupon

The Payment Coupon repeats your current payment information. Include this coupon with your check if you pay by mail, and be sure to write in your new address if you’ve moved.

Note: Remember: With a savings account you earn interest; when you borrow you pay interest. The interest rate a lender charges you depends on how good they believe your credit is — your creditworthiness.

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