Understanding Your Credit Card Statement

Decoding the fine print so you never get caught unaware.

Decoding your credit card statementCredit card overspending and failure to read and understand the fine print on credit card statements are two of the most common reasons for credit card debt. According to creditcards.com and the Federal Reserve, Americans owe $807.5 billion in credit card debt and the average US household that uses credit has a balance over $8,000.

While swiping your cards certainly isn’t complicated, knowing how to read the statements can be. As a result, users get into trouble because they just don’t understand how their cards work so problems arise. To better manage your accounts, Consolidated Credit offers this easy guide to help you understand your statements. If you still have questions or need help, call or start now with a free Debt & Budget Analysis.

Section 1: Summary of Account Activity

Typically, the account summary section will show:

Section 2: Payment Information

This section reflects the total amount owed on your card, the minimum amount you are required to pay and the date by which it must be paid to avoid penalty charges. On some statements, this information will be rolled into the account summary.

Payment information should also contain two important alerts:

  1. Late Payment Warning: This warning is to inform you that if your payment is not received by your due date, you will be charged additional fees and your interest rates may increase.
  2. Minimum Payment Estimate: This is the approximate length of time it should take to pay off the debt if you only make the minimum payments.

Section 3: Notice of changes to your interest rates

If for some reason you go over your credit limit or pay your bill late, your credit card company will notify you that your interest rates will be increasing, the amount of the increase, and the date the new increased rate will take effect.

Section 4: Important changes to your account terms

This section notifies you of any changes to your credit card account, states your revised interest rates and the date it will take effect. You must be notified of any changes at least 45 days before the changes go into effect.

Section 5: Transactions

This is simply a list of all the purchases, payments, credits, cash advances, and balance transfers you’ve made since your last statement.

Here are a number of general fees to be conscious of:

Important Note: What does the grace period mean?

Your grace period is the number of days you have to pay at least your minimum before the debt will trigger a finance charge. There are no grace periods for cash advances even if the previous balance was paid in full.

The Back of Your Statement

The fine print on the back of your statement is also packed with important information. It’s particularly useful for explaining fees applied to your accounts and important procedures related to your account.

These can include:

Avoid becoming overburdened by credit card debt

Owning a credit card is a financial risk – a risk that can be minimized by dissecting your monthly statements and thoroughly reading and understanding the fine print. If you are struggling to keep up, Consolidated Credit’s certified credit counselors may be able to help you. Call or request a free Debt & Budget Analysis online.

"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

All Consolidated Credit counselors are certified personal financial counselors (CFC) We've helped 5 million people get out of debt! Call us today and see what we can do for you.

Consolidated Credit is honored to receive the 2012 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Nonprofit Organization of the Year award. The EIFLE awards acknowledge innovation, dedication and the commitment of organizations that support financial literacy education worldwide. See what Consolidated Credit can do for you.

Consolidated Credit is honored to receive the 2012 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Nonprofit Organization of the Year award. The EIFLE awards acknowledge innovation, dedication and the commitment of organizations that support financial literacy education worldwide. See what Consolidated Credit can do for you.

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Time tested and customer trusted. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services has been a BBB Accredited Business since 1998 and has a current A+ rating. Call us today and see what we can do for you.

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