Every month your credit card company sends you a statement. If you are like most people you take a quick glance at it and then toss it into a pile where it will be ignored for a while, or maybe never looked at again. There is all sorts of valuable information contained in your credit card statement if you know where to look for it and understand what it means.
The first section to pay attention is the new charges. Take a look and make sure that all of the charges that show up are actually yours. It isn’t uncommon for a charge to show up for something that you didn’t buy, but there is no reason why you should have to pay for the mistake of the credit card company or for theft of your card number. By looking at your new charge section closely you can spot the problems and contact your credit card company if you need to.
Next, look at your previous balance. Make sure that the previous balance is the same as the new balance was on your last bill. If it isn’t, take the time to figure out why.
Look at the payments that are listed. Does it list the payments that you made or is something missing? If you are making payments you want to make sure that you are getting credit for them. Remember, though, that sometimes the bill you are reading was printed before you made the payment, so don’t panic if you recently made a payment and it doesn’t show up.
Now look at where is says APR. This stands for Annual Percentage Rate, or in other words it is your interest rate. Look to see if the credit card company has changed this rate since the last bill. They can change it as they want and this can cost you a lot of money if you have an outstanding balance. If you have missed a payment or are consistently late with payments they may change the rate, but if you are unsure why it has changed, be sure to find out. There may be no good reason and it may be changed back.
The minimum payment is a crucial piece of information. Even if you can’t pay off your entire bill, you have to be certain to pay at least this amount in order to keep your credit in good order. You also need to note the due date of that payment and pay on time.
By looking closely and understanding your credit card statement you can avoid mistakes and potentially save money and avoid problems.