6 Advantages Of Understanding A Credit Card Statement And How You Can Make Full Use Of It | understanding a credit card statement

What exactly is a Credit Card Statement and what does it mean to you? Essentially, a credit report or credit statement is a comprehensive, written snapshot of your financial activity during a particular billing cycle. A billing cycle or billing period simply refers to the period between when one billing date occurs and the next. In a more general sense, the entire billing year is termed a billing cycle.

When you receive your monthly statements, you should also get a copy of the complete credit card statement which details all the major parties involved in paying the bill including: interest charges, balance payments, and other payments. The account summary will provide you with an overview of all payments made and the respective balances as well as the respective due dates and balance amounts. Most account summary forms include the following information: name of account holder; account number; current balance; date due; balance due; name of creditor or company that owed the balance; balance transfer information; and, if available, the telephone number of the creditor. Your statement will contain detailed information about any late payment activity that occurred during the billing cycle and will also contain the applicable late fees.

A credit statement is not intended to serve as legal advice. It is intended to provide account holders with a concise overview of their financial activity for review and record purposes. The account summary and statement should be used only as a guide. Each cardholder is encouraged, however, to consult with a licensed professional credit counselor, lawyer, or financial advisor before making any financial decisions.

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One important feature of the account summary is the line item section which details the amounts due and payment information for each account. For example, if you have five different credit cards with ten or twenty different credit limits, the line item information would list the amounts due and payment information for each individual account. It will typically list the credit limit on top and then the balance due (if a balance transfer) or due and outstanding for the second lowest limit. You will also find lines drawing a zero balance from your account which indicate that the account was charged a zero balance. The summary line item will highlight any special conditions for each account.

An important feature of a credit statement/account summary is the information found beneath the account summary. This area will display the most recent statement (sometimes called the latest statement) and it will outline all significant transactions, such as the date and time of the last statement, and will detail the payments made and amounts due for each transaction (the date, time, and amount of the payment). This section of the credit statement/account summary is particularly useful if you need to monitor your credit or if you want to check your credit score.

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A very useful feature of your statement/account summary is the section that details the number of days you have overdue payments. Most companies will include an option to notify them when you become 30 days behind on a payment. If this section is not available in your statement/account summary, you can request that they add it. This section will outline the date that you became behind on all of your payments; the payment will be due on the applicable due date. It will indicate if you are behind in penalties or if any late payments have been reported to the credit bureaus. It will warn you if you have been charged late payment charges and will generally give you the option of paying the late fee in full or paying it in partial.

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