How to read your credit card statement
September 28, 2023 6 min read
Credit card statements arrive each month to offer a detailed look at what’s going on with a credit card account. In just a few pages, you might find topics from payments to rewards.
That makes your credit card statement a helpful tool to track spending, confirm payment details and identify unauthorized charges. So it helps to know how to read it to get the most out of the information.
- If you have a credit card, the law requires your issuer to provide a monthly statement when there is account activity.
- Credit card statements might be mailed or provided digitally.
- Statements are generally divided into different sections to provide information about payments, balances, transactions, interest and more.
- Statements might also include account notifications, important information and other terms and conditions.
A payment information box appears near the top of your credit card statement. Here, you’ll likely find:
- Payment due date: A payment toward your balance must be made on or before this date.
- New balance: Sometimes also called a statement balance, this is the total of the payments and credits, fees, interest and unpaid balances on your card since your last billing cycle.
- Minimum payment due: If you’re unable to pay the full balance, you can pay at least this amount to avoid a late fee and keep your account in good standing. Just remember, by paying only the minimum, you could incur interest charges and increase the time it takes to pay off your balance.
- Late payment warning: Depending on your issuer, you may be charged a fee for late payments. This lets you know what that fee could be. Some issuers may also charge increased interest, also referred to as a penalty rate. If so, you may see that rate listed here as well.
- Minimum payment warning: The amount you pay each month can impact how long it takes you to pay off your balance in full. The minimum payment warning shows how long it would take to pay your balance using the minimum if you do not continue to transact on your account. It also shows how much you could wind up paying in interest.
The account summary provides a snapshot of your account activity during the latest billing period. Most summaries begin with your balance at the end of the last billing cycle. You may also see a reminder about your credit limit and how much is still available. Other line items could include:
- Account credits
- Interest charges
- Credit available for cash advance
Further down your statement, you’ll find more details about each of these in the transactions section.
If you have a rewards credit card, your statement might summarize your rewards. It might include:
- Your current and previous rewards balance
- Rewards earned during the current billing period
- Rewards redeemed during the current billing period
The transactions section is where issuers list all the details of your account summary.
Depending on the lender, you may see transactions grouped by date or type. Either way, this will likely include:
- Payments: Any payments you made on your account during the last billing cycle.
- Account credits: This can include refunds, earned rewards or mistakes that have been credited back to you.
- Fees: Issuers are required to provide details about any fees you owe. These could include things like late payment fees or your card’s annual fee. You may also see balance transfer or cash advance fees.
- Interest charges: If you carry a balance from a previous statement, you’ll likely be charged interest. But interest is also typically charged on transactions like cash advances and balance transfers, starting from the date of the transaction. Paying your balance in full every billing cycle can help you pay less in interest than you would if you carried over your balance from month to month.
- Balance transfers: If you transferred funds from a different account to your credit card, the amount you still owe will be shown here.
- Cash advances: This details any cash you withdrew on your account.
This section shows how much you’ve been charged in fees and interest for the current year to date. This can be helpful to review as you’re budgeting for the year or looking for a snapshot of how much you’ve paid in addition to your balance. And remember, paying your full balance each month could help you pay less in interest and fees.
Interest charge calculation
Usually found near the end of your statement, this section explains your card’s interest rates, the balances on your account that are subject to those interest rates and the amount of interest charged.
The notifications section of your statement provides updates that may affect your account. If you’re a Capital One cardholder, you might see explanations of fees, interest charges or your AutoPay selections.
You might also see more general information, like how to contact customer service or use digital tools to find out about recent updates.
Consider going paperless
If you have a Capital One account, you can also go paperless. It takes just a few taps to switch to paperless statements, which can reduce clutter and eliminate the risk of your statement getting lost or stolen in the mail.
Credit card statement FAQ
Here are some answers to questions about reading credit card statements:
Where can I find my credit card statement balance?
You can typically find your balance in the account summary or payment information section. The summary shows the charges and credits since your previous balance or the balance at the end of the last billing period. The payment information shows the new balance, the minimum payment due and the payment due date.
How can I get my credit card statements?
How can I dispute billing errors?
The Fair Credit Billing Act created a standard process for consumers to dispute billing errors without harming their credit. You typically have to report billing errors to the credit card issuer within 60 days of getting your credit card statement. Some creditors may ask you to contact the merchant first.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers a sample dispute letter that consumers can use to notify the card issuer in writing.
Credit card statements in a nutshell
Reading your credit card statement can help you stay on top of your spending and any changes to your account.
To get a clearer understanding of how it all works, you can check out these common credit card terms.