A billing statement is a listing of the transactions made on an account during a period of time, usually a month. In the case of credit cards, it outlines a user’s spending activity over the previous month. This statement clearly lists the user’s minimum required payment, any rewards earned, any interest fees charged, and the total balance currently on the credit card.
Ah, the magic of getting your first credit card. When you first get a card, there’s a certain thrill that comes with swiping your card in a scanner. However, things stop feeling so freeing when you hit the end of the month. That’s when you get your first billing statement — but what does that mean?
A billing statement is a document that shows the transactions in an account over a set period. In the case of credit cards, it shows how much you have spent over the last credit card billing cycle. It will also list your minimum monthly payment, any payments received, account activity related to the card, as well as notes about any added fees.
Before you get a credit card, it’s important to understand what a billing statement is, and how it works. It may save your sanity and your credit score.
What’s a billing statement?
A billing statement is your credit card’s way of handling bills. Credit card companies have to be very clear about their billing process due to national laws and customer demands for these policies. You can have a billing statement for all types of accounts, but in this article we will focus on credit cards.
The best way to explain it is that your statement is a bill, along with all the important information related to your credit card use. Billing statements show you how much your minimum monthly payment is, when your due date is, how much your total balance is, and other details you may need to know.
What information do you get on a billing statement?
A credit card billing statement is meant to act as a basic roadmap to your credit card usage. This means that you’ll get almost all the important information in your statement. This includes:
- Your payment due date. This is when you have to pay your credit card’s minimum in order to avoid a late fee.
- Your credit limit. This is the maximum amount of money you can spend on your credit card.
- Your minimum payment due. This is how much you have to pay in order for the credit card company to accept your payment and show that you paid the bill on time.
- Your outstanding balance. This is how much of your credit limit you’ve currently used. It’s the total of your purchases, fees, and interest, minus payments.
- Your available credit. This is how much you can still spend on your card before you hit the limit.
- Your interest rate and interest charges. This shows how much you pay in interest and how much you were charged.
- All the purchases from your billing cycle. This will include purchases at stores, details about each purchase, as well as cash advances.
- Total charged during the billing cycle. This will be the total of all the purchases you made this cycle.
- Total payments so far. If you submitted multiple payments, then it’ll show the total amount paid.
Why does a credit card company need to give you all this information?
Your billing statement makes sure you know how much you owe your credit card issuer at the end of the month. They also give you other important information, like the details of purchases, as a way to help you keep your credit expenditures safe.
As a borrower, you should check the billing statement for any strange purchases that you may not have made. If you notice one, then you may have credit card fraud or theft to worry about.
How did my card issuer come up with the monthly minimum payment?
Technically, this can be completely up to the credit card company, since they have the right to choose how their minimums are calculated. With that said, the general rule of thumb is to charge a minimum of $25, or by using a small percentage of your balance along with fees and interest added in.
In the past, the small percentage would equal to about 5% of your total expenditures. Since then, companies have decided to drop minimum payments down to 1% to 2% of the total balance.
If you are curious about how your credit card’s company calculates your minimum payment, you can find out on the card’s website. In some cases, you may have to phone them to find out the full details on how it’s calculated.
When are billing statements issued?
Billing statements are issued once a month at the close of the billing cycle. Each card issuer has its own schedule when it comes to the exact date that the statements are created. More often than not, you can contact your credit card company by phone to find out when this is.
Keep in mind, however, that your card’s due date is not the same as the date you receive your billing statement. For more information on keeping these dates separate, check out SuperMoney’s article on the differences between statement dates and due dates.
Where do you see your account balance on a card statement?
Your account balance, as well as the minimum payment and due date, will all be on the first page of your statement. This is formatted to ensure that you have every major bit of information at a glance.
Do you get to see your card rewards on your billing statement?
If you have a rewards card, you should see any points or miles earned on your billing statement. Most of the time, rewards points that you earn will be on a small side bar separate from the more important information like interest rates and minimum payments.
Depending on the type of rewards card you have, your statement may also provide a brief description on what purchases earned rewards. For instance, if you have a credit card that gives you 5% cash back on groceries but only 1% cash back on gas, you’ll see these resulting rewards broken down in the rewards section.
Do debit cards have billing statements?
They do, but they do not show interest charges or similar credit card-only information. They will still show debit purchases and credits to your account. Any important updates to your account may also be included.
On a similar note, loans can have statements too. That’s why you might also hear about a mortgage statement in the mail.
How do I check my debit card statement?
Financial institutions typically mail out a debit card statement every month, but you can also check your statements online. When you open a bank account, your card issuer will give you information on how customers access these statements.
Does my monthly billing statement show how interest is calculated?
The majority of statements will have the full details on how interest is charged to your account in small writing at the bottom of the statement. This will include notes on fees related to balance transfers, cash advance interest rate charges, and more.
If your interest charges are way higher than you think they should be, it may be time to read the small print. You might be surprised at which transaction caused the hike!
- A billing statement contains all the vital information you need to manage your credit card.
- Your credit issuer will release a statement once a month.
- If you want to find out how much money your creditor’s owed, you can check the front page of your statement.
- Make sure to review your statement for any unusual purchases to catch credit card fraud.
- Cards with perks and rewards points typically show how many points you have accrued on your bill.
View Article Sources
- Understand Your Credit Card Statement — MyCreditUnion.gov
- § 226.9 Subsequent disclosure requirements. — Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
- How Credit Cards Work: The History of Credit Cards — SuperMoney
- Statement Date vs. Due Date: What is the Difference? — SuperMoney
- How Do Prepaid Debit Cards Work? — SuperMoney
- My Debit Card Is About To Expire – What Do I Do? — SuperMoney
- What is a Virtual Credit Card? 8 Reasons Why You Need One — SuperMoney