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Making Sense Of Your Credit Card Statement
Whether you are new to the world of credit cards, or a seasoned veteran, understanding the information in your credit card statement can be confusing. There is a lot of information packed onto a single page, and if you’ve never taken the time to review your statement in detail, it may be a good idea for you to do so. That way you are more likely to notice if there are any abnormalities with a statement that might indicate identity theft or merchant errors. The statement should display your account number prominently. This is the number that uniquely identifies you to the credit card company. When purchases are made using your credit card, they are all attached to this account number and charged to you.
If you need to call customer service for any reason, you will be asked to provide the account number. If you’ve ever used one of your credit cards and had difficulty making an online purchase or a purchase over the phone because the merchant says your name doesn’t match, it’s probably because you have used a middle initial on your card but not in the checkout process, or vice versa. On your statement you can view your name as it is saved in relation to your credit card account. Jane L. Doe is different from Jane Doe or Jane Lee Doe, so it’s important to note how your account is set up.
The statement date displayed on the credit card statement shows you all transactions that took place between the last statement date and the current one. The payment due date is the date which your credit card company should receive payment in order to avoid late fees and additional finance charges. While some companies allow you to postmark your payment on the due date, most want to receive it by the due date, so plan accordingly. The credit line shows you how much money the credit card company will allow you to charge on their card at one time. You can charge multiple transactions, but the total amount owed must not go over this amount. If you do manage to spend more than your credit line, you will pay over-the-limit fees. The credit available displays how much of your credit line you still have available to spend. The new balance information displays how much you have charged and have not yet paid back. If you pay the entire amount in this column, you will not be charged interest. The minimum amount due is the amount of money that you are required to send by the due date.
The transaction list is a detailed listing of everything that has occurred with your account since the last statement. It will detail purchases, returns and refunds, and interest charged to the account. If there is anything you don’t remember buying, contact the company listed in the transaction listing or call your credit card account immediately. There is also a section that shows how your current balance was calculated. It shows purchases, finance charges, interest, your last payment information, and then the total balance of the card is shown again in this section as well as the minimum amount you must pay that month to stay current with your payments. You should always try to send more than the minimum, if not the entire balance, each month to avoid finance charges, and interest. The finance charge summary section will show you how interest and finance charges are applied to any balance that remains on your card from one month to the next.
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