The Bright Life > Credit Cards

Your simple guide to reading a Credit Card Statement.

This is 3 minutes of your time put to great use - get on top of all the terms, figures and percentages in those credit card statements.
May 3, 2020
Jaya Jha
Product Leader, Bright Money
Avi Patchava, Varun Modi, Amit Bendale, Avinash Ramakanth, Deepak Thakkar
Published on December 11, 2019

You recently got a credit card? Or maybe you have many already!

Well, along with that glossy, flashy, sparkling new card you received, soon what will follow in the mail is a dull, dry, paper statement full of tricky terms and fidgety figures.

You need to be able to read this new stage language to know what’s going on. Let’s get you equipped!

A credit card statement is a summary of how you've used your credit card during a billing period.

A billing period is a 30-day period that credit companies use to measure your balance, transactions, and interest rates. The billing period is pre-set when you get your card, but it is something that most card companies let you change so that you can pick the exact dates that suit you.

Credit card statements are filled with terms, numbers, and percentages that play their role in the calculation of your total credit card balance.

  1. Account Summary:
    This is usually the first section on your credit card statement - it contains some of the important stuff. The account summary gives an overview of your credit card account. Here you will find your current balance, fees, and the interest charged since your last billing statement. Also, it will tell you the amount of credit you have available, and the date in which your billing cycle closed.
  1. Payment Information:
    The total amount you owe the credit company, which is also called your new balance. The payment information section lists the payment you must make to avoid late payment penalties (called your minimum due payment) and the deadline for doing this (called your payment due date).
  1. Late Payment Warnings:
    The late payment warning disclosure explains what will happen if the company receives your payment late. You will find the late fee amount and the penalty APR that could be applied to your account if you do not make the minimum payment by the due date.
  1. Minimum Payment Warnings:
    Credit card issuers are now required to post a minimum payment warning on your credit card statement. This disclosure tells you how long it will take to pay off your balance if you only make the minimum payment. You will also find the total amount of your balance, including interest charges which go into your your minimum payment.
  1. Credit Counseling Notice:
    Your credit card billing statement must give you the contact information for a nonprofit credit counseling agency that you can contact if you are having trouble making your credit card payments.
  1. Rewards Summary:
    If your credit card comes with a reward program, a summary of your rewards will appear on your credit card statement. This section will generally include your reward balance, rewards earned this period, and the amount of rewards available for redemption.
  1. Total Interest and Fees Paid This Year:
    Your billing statement must include a running total of the interest and fees you have paid this year on your account. You can reduce the amount of interest you are paying by either negotiating a lower interest rate, which can be difficult to do or by paying your balance faster. Some fees you cannot avoid, like an annual fee, but other fees, late fees, and cash advance fees are easy to escape.

Bottom line...

Bright helps you with Credit Card statements by monitoring the interest levels for you and allocating to your cards accordingly. We watch out for you and pay your minimum dues. We target your credit card balances when you have cash to spare. We ensure you don’t face late fees! In summary, when it comes to managing your card card statements, Bright has your back.

Sources and other great references:

https://handsonbanking.org/adults/using-credit-advantage/credit-cards/how-to-read-your-credit-card-statement/

https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/statutes/credit-card-accountability-responsibility-and-disclosure-act-2009-credit-card-act/credit-card-pub-l-111-24_0.pdf

https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/resources/so-my-credit-card-is-past-due/

https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/statutes/credit-card-accountability-responsibility-and-disclosure-act-2009-credit-card-act/credit-card-pub-l-111-24_0.pdf

https://handsonbanking.org/adults/using-credit-advantage/credit-cards/how-to-read-your-credit-card-statement/

Jaya Jha
Product Leader, Bright Money

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