How to Read Your Credit Card Statement
Reading and understanding your statement is an important part of responsible credit use
If you have a credit card, your lender is, in most cases, required to send you a statement. It can come in the mail or, if you’ve requested, electronically. But before you toss it on an pile of unread mail or simply scroll past it, you should know there’s a lot of valuable information in there. For example, you can use it to track spending, confirm payment dates and identify unauthorized charges.
Each credit card statement represents a summary of how you’ve used your card during a billing period. That might seem pretty simple. But making sense of statement details may take some practice. And while details can vary by lender, the information below will help cover the basics.
This article uses images of a sample Capital One statement like one a customer would get in the mail or see online. They’ll help give you an idea of what different sections could look like.
A payment information box usually 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. Mailed payments are typically considered on time if they reach the credit card company by 5 p.m. on the due date. And online or phone payments may be accepted on the due date past that time. Policies can vary though, so be sure to check with your lender.
- New balance: Sometimes also called a statement balance, this is how much you owe at the end of the billing cycle. It’s the total of all the transactions, 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 late fee. This lets you know what that fee could be. Some issuers may also charge increased interest, also referred to as a penalty fee. 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 or other small payments. 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 previous balance, which is what you owed 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
Further down your statement, you’ll find more details about each of these in the transactions section.
This is where many issuers list all the details of your account summary.
Depending on the lender, you may see transactions grouped by date or type. Regardless, 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, your card’s annual fee or even a fee for going over your credit limit. You may also see the application of 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 a different credit card’s balance over, the amount you still owe will be shown here.
- Cash advances: This details any cash you withdrew against your card’s balance.
This section shows how much you’ve been charged in fees and interest so far for the current year. 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.
If you’re being charged any interest, you’ll find the total amount.
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 get more general information, like how to contact customer service or use digital tools to get more information about recent updates.
Consider Going Paperless
Break down your statement section by section, and you may find yourself far less overwhelmed by all the information it contains.
And if you’ve got a Capital One account, you can also go paperless. Reduce clutter and eliminate the risk of your statement getting lost or stolen in the mail. It takes just a few taps to switch to paperless statements. And you can access your statements online or through the Capital One Mobile app.
Government and private relief efforts vary by location and may have changed since this article was published. Consult a financial adviser or the relevant government agencies and private lenders for the most current information.
We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.