Why Is It Important To Read Your Statement
If you used your card wisely, there's no need to run for cover when your statement arrives, because you won't get any nasty surprises. Here are some things to look for:
Check your balance
If you've only been making minimum payments on your card since the beginning, your bill's going to hurt. You're venturing into dangerous territory, and should turn that around as soon as possible. Rework your budget so that you can make higher payments (for as long as you can) and keep your credit card balance as low as possible.
Do your best to keep a “panic-free” balance that you can pay back every month.
Keep enough credit available to help you out in real emergencies.
Check where you bought what
When you get your statement, compare the amounts in your list of purchases with the actual receipts (which you should always save). It can be very enlightening to see where your money goes and to track your actual spending, so make it a habit. Plus you should check for any errors, especially since you have to notify the bank within 30 days of your statement .
Pay the minimum… or more.
You must pay the minimum amount indicated on your monthly credit card statement by the due date. If you cut even a bit of spending elsewhere, you'll be able to increase your payment and save that much more in interest.
Never forget that a credit card is a loan. The bank is lending you money, and charging you interest for that privilege. The interest is calculated as a percentage of the amount loaned, and is determined when you sign for your card (on the application).
After that, interest will be charged on the remainder (unpaid balance) up until full payment is received.
Minimum monthly payment is compulsory.
The longer you take to pay off your credit card, the more your purchases are actually costing you.
When's it due again?
We know, life can be “information overload” - you can't be expected to remember everything. If you forget to pay or pay after the due date, a “late payment” note goes straight onto your credit history. Paying your bills on time is crucial to maintaining a positive credit record. Don't forget your credit card payment.
To make it easier, your credit card payment is due on the same date every month. Find a way to remind yourself a few days in advance - a note on the fridge or on your email calendar with a reminder… whatever it takes. And take weekends and holidays into account. A great option is getting your payments automatically debited from your bank account, so the payments take care of themselves, and on time. Ask your bank about it.
Remember your statement date.
Remember the payment due date.