How Long Should You Keep Credit Card Statements?

Article Summary:

If you don’t use your credit cards for business expenses, then it’s generally safe to keep credit card statements for as little as 60 days, but it doesn’t hurt to hold on to them for one year. However, if you have any reason to believe you should keep them for tax purposes, then it’s better to store old credit card statements for six to seven years.

It could happen to anyone: a sudden mistake in billing that leads companies to believe you didn’t pay what you said you did. Or perhaps it’s a matter as simple as needing to track mortgage payments to prevent an illegal eviction.

While tech has made it easier for consumers to examine their spending at a glance, it’s still wise to keep your credit card statements for your personal records. But it’s not always clear how long to hold on to old credit card statements before it’s safe to throw them away. So how long should you keep your statements?

The length of time you should keep your credit card statements depends on the reason why you might want to keep them. Before you toss out your statements, let’s take a look at the best practices that personal finance experts recommend.

How long should I keep my credit card statements?

As mentioned above, this will depend on what records you want to keep and why. Here’s what you should know about keeping old credit card statements:

  • Most credit card companies suggest keeping your statements for at least 60 days. According to the Fair Credit Billing Act, you have 60 days to dispute credit card statement errors with your credit card issuer in case of identity theft. You also have about 90 days to dispute credit card charges, so it’s best to look over your personal credit card statements at least once a month.
  • If you want to track your expenses for budgeting reasons, you should keep your credit card statements for at least a year. Online statements and paper statements should both be held on to for a year to give you a better picture of your financial history over a longer period of time.
  • For tax-related expenses, you should keep your credit card statements for as long as six years. Most IRS audits will only be triggered by your last three years of tax returns, but it’s possible for them to reach back as far as three to seven years. Typically, it’s a good idea to keep your records for six years in case you need to provide proof of your tax deductions.
  • If you’ve bought any extended warranties for large purchases, then you should keep credit card statements for a few years as proof of purchase. This is also true if you want to exchange a large number of points for a perk, as some companies may need proof that you earned those points.
  • If you are self-employed, then it is best to keep a credit card statement for six years, regardless of what you’ve purchased with the credit card. You’ll want to be able to keep tabs on your business expenses for tax purposes.

Keeping credit card statements for tax purposes

If you use credit cards for personal expenses, such as a fashion trip or a car repair, chances are that you don’t need to keep your receipts for too long. Most people don’t need to hold on to credit card statements for a tax return.

However, if you use your credit card for charitable donations, business expenses, office utility bills, or large medical purchases, then you may need to keep your statements for up to seven years. If you have a business credit card, you should keep your statements for six years.

Pro Tip

If you are not sure which credit card statements you should keep for tax reasons, ask a CPA for help. They will be able to tell you which account statements to keep and which ones to throw away.

Why would I need to keep credit card statements for tax purposes?

Keeping records is all about maintaining a paper trail in the possible event of an IRS audit. You need to have proof that you spent the money you claimed on your tax deduction, and for that, you’ll need financial documents, such as credit card statements.

On a similar note, if you make direct payments from a bank account for business expenses, you should follow the same guidelines for bank statements as those for credit card statements.

Pro Tip

It’s best to use business credit cards for all your business expenses. This can help streamline your taxes by keeping your personal credit card expenses separate.

Should I keep statements for credit card perks?

If you have a personal credit card that earns you points, you may want to store your purchase records for however long it takes to redeem those points. This way, you will be able to provide proof of purchase and redeem your points in case of billing errors.

On a similar note, if your credit card company offers purchase protection or a warranty as a perk for using their card, keep your older statements as proof of your rights. This practice can be a lifesaver when you need repairs for larger purchases, such as a television or an expensive appliance.

Pro Tip

A credit card with specific perks may be tempting, but it’s best to compare all credit card offers before choosing one. Check out SuperMoney’s guide on how to evaluate credit card offers to determine which card is right for you.

How to store your financial statements

Storing your important financial documents at all is crucial, but how you store them matters just as much. You can’t rely on credit card issuers to keep your statements all the time. Here’s what you should know about storing your credit card statements:

  • Store digital copies of your statements in a password-protected drive. Ideally, you should keep a credit card statement in a password-protected file on an encrypted drive. You can back these files up either in the cloud or on a physical hard drive. You can usually download digital copies of your financial records from your credit card issuer’s website.
  • Store paper statements in your home within folders labeled by year. This will make filing your tax return a breeze. Even if you have statements stored online, it’s smart to keep paper copies on hand as well. It’s often best to store these statements in folders separate from other documents, like pay stubs or mortgage statements.
  • When you no longer need your paper copies, use shredding services to dispose of them. A credit card statement has your credit card information on it, which means throwing it away whole can leave you vulnerable to identity theft.

Pro Tip

If you have an extended warranty on a large purchase, you should store your proof of purchase in a separate folder.


Is it safe to throw away an old credit card statement?

If you’re planning to simply “bin it,” think again. Tossing out a statement whole could result in identity theft. You should always shred credit card statements before you throw them away.

Is it necessary to save credit card statements?

Technically, it’s not always necessary. You won’t be penalized if you don’t safely store your statements. However, if you catch any billing errors in your online account, having your credit card statements handy could save you a lot of money.

Credit card statements are also among the important documents you should store for tax purposes.

How long should you keep cell phone bills?

Keeping cell phone bills for a year is ideal. If your bills are a business expense, however, it’s best to keep them with your credit card statements for six years.

How often should you check your credit card statements?

You should check them at least once a month, ideally before the next statement date. If anything seems fishy, the best thing you can do is call your credit card issuer as soon as possible to report potential fraud.

How long should you keep your mortgage payment statements?

This depends on your lender and your financial situation. Because your mortgage can have an impact on your taxes, most experts agree that you should keep your mortgage payment statements for at least six years.

That said, it may be wise to keep your statements for longer if you are concerned about your financial institution losing your payment history.

Key Takeaways

  • You should keep personal credit card statements for a minimum of 60 days in case you need to report billing errors.
  • If you are claiming deductions on your tax returns, keep your credit card statements for three to six years.
  • If you have extended warranties or card perks, it’s best to keep your credit card statements for a few years as proof of purchase.
  • If you ever undergo a tax audit, your credit card statements will act as proof of any purchases you’ve made.
  • You should always store copies of your statements in a safe place and shred paper copies before disposal.

Getting a credit card is often seen as one of the first steps toward adulthood, but even veteran card users can make rookie mistakes. The best way to make sure you don’t pay more than you should or run into trouble with your credit card issuer is to do your research.

SuperMoney has all sorts of guides on credit cards, from what types of cards you can get to how to get approved for one. When you’re ready to apply, use our comparison tool to find the best credit card for you!

View Article Sources
  1. How Long Should I Keep My Credit Card Statements? – Forbes
  2. Fair Credit Billing Act – Federal Trade Commission
  3. How Long to Keep Tax Records and Other Documents – Consumer Reports