What is this charge on my credit card?

Ever struggled to recognize a credit card transaction on your billing statement? If something looks funky, like an unknown name or amount, it might just be because you don’t remember using your card. But it’s a good idea to dig a little deeper.

Checking credit card transactions can help protect the security of your account. It can give you peace of mind as well as the chance to identify unauthorized charges. So going through your credit card statement isn’t just a one-time thing—it’s an all-the-time thing. Here’s how to review your statements.

Key takeaways

  • Regularly reviewing your credit card statement may help you identify unfamiliar charges to your account.
  • If you think a credit card transaction listed on your statement is in error, it’s important to dispute it with your credit card issuer within 60 days of the transaction.
  • If you think a transaction was the result of credit card fraud, it can be helpful to report it immediately and lock your card to avoid more fraudulent charges.
  • Capital One offers tools like fraud alerts and instant purchase notifications to help you stay on top of your account.

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How to identify credit card transactions

The first thing you need to do is track down your statement. Find the latest copy that was mailed to you or sign in to your account online to see it there.

As you read your credit card statement, you’ll see a transactions section. Here, you’ll find details about all the transactions on your account, including purchases charged to the card during the last billing period. The details typically include how much your account was charged, who received payment, when the transaction occurred and when it was posted to your account.

An example of transactions listed on a Capital One Platinum Mastercard statement.

What if I see something unfamiliar on my credit card statement?

If something looks unfamiliar in your statement, take a few minutes to mentally retrace your steps. What’s the date of the transaction, and can you remember what you were doing that day? You might have forgotten that you stopped somewhere unexpectedly for lunch, for example.  

You can also check with family members or friends who are authorized users on the account to see whether they made the transactions in question. And think about whether you scheduled any purchases a while back that you might just now be seeing the charges for.

How do I find out who charged my credit card?

Do your credit card transactions show a business name that you don’t recognize? Bear in mind that some company names can appear abbreviated or otherwise shortened on your statement. 

Some companies might also appear under the name of their parent company or the name of the payment processing service provider they use. You can look up the name online to find out what company it’s related to.

How to approach disputes for credit card transactions

If you’ve researched the transaction and still don’t recognize the charge, it could be the result of an error or fraud. In either case, you should promptly contact your credit card issuer to dispute it

Unless the dispute concerns fraud, most issuers require you to file it within 60 days of the transaction appearing on your statement. 

When it comes to disputes, contacting the business directly is often the fastest way to resolve things.

Reporting fraudulent charges on your credit card

If you find an unfamiliar charge that’s more than a simple mistake, you might be a victim of credit card fraud.

If you suspect you have a fraudulent charge, you can start by calling the toll-free number on the back of your card. You’ll answer some questions and start the process of filing a claim. If you’re a Capital One cardholder, you can instantly lock your card from the Capital One Mobile app so no one else can use it.1

Try to report the fraudulent charge as soon as possible. The sooner you can do it, the quicker you may be able to stop more unauthorized spending in your name. And the more likely you’ll be to prevent long-term negative consequences on your credit score as a result of the charges.

Thankfully, if you report credit card fraud and it’s investigated and verified, the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) says you’ll be liable for no more than $50, no matter how much was fraudulently charged to your card. Some issuers, like Capital One, have $0 liability for unauthorized charges. So if your card is lost or stolen, you won’t be responsible for charges you did not authorize.2

You can also set up a fraud alert with one of the three major credit reporting bureausEquifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®—and it will alert the other two. And you can file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Checking your credit card charges in a nutshell

Finding a charge you don’t recognize on your credit card statement can be stressful. And it’s important to address it quickly when it happens. Spending a little time reviewing your statements every billing cycle could save you from some of the financial and emotional impact of credit card fraud. 

And if you’re a Capital One cardholder, you can even keep track of charges as they come in. Fraud alerts and instant purchase notifications are just two of the tools Capital One offers to help you stay on top of your account. You can activate these features using the Capital One Mobile app or online.

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