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How to reconcile your credit card statement

Check for errors, track your spending and make your payments on time.

Taking your credit card statement at face value and just making the required payment can be a big leap of faith. Mistakes are made by even the largest banks and fraud can happen when you least expect it. Before your next statement arrives, learn how to reconcile it for accuracy and what steps to take should you find something out of place.

What does reconciling my credit card statement mean?

Reconciliation is nothing more than the process of verifying that you actually made the purchases you are being charged for. Reconciling your statement will catch any of the potential errors made by your credit card company or by a merchant, along with any fraudulent activity on your credit card. Reconciling your statement helps you to avoid paying for something you didn’t actually purchase and being charged more in interest than you should be.

What do I need?

Reconciling your credit card statement is simple. Here’s what you need:

  • Current statement. A copy of your most recent monthly statement should be available through your bank online if you are setup for online banking or you may still may receive a paper copy in the mail.
  • Current receipts. You should save all your receipts for transactions made with your credit card for the month. This includes receipts for all purchases and withdrawals you made during that statement period.
  • Tools. A calculator, pen, notepad or laptop if you want to reconcile your statement digitally. You decide what works best for you.

How to reconcile a credit card statement

  1. Sort your receipts. Keep your credit card receipts in a designated spot throughout the month (maybe in your wallet or in an envelope at home) so you don’t lose them. If you’re using an app or an Excel spreadsheet to track your spending, consider entering your receipts as you get them. Sort them by date to make it easier to mark them off your statement.
  2. Match your receipts to your credit card statement. With your receipts in chronological order, go through the listed items on your credit card statement and mark each one you have a receipt for. Once you have gone through every receipt, there should be no unmarked items left on the statement other than any fees and interest charges. Need help reading your statement? Here’s everything you need to help you understand your credit card statement.
  3. Notify your bank. If you do note an error on your credit card statement, notify the issuing bank immediately. Some banks give you 30 days from the statement date to report any errors to them. The sooner you contact them, the more likely they will find the reason for the error and correct it. Be specific about what type of error it is. If you suspect fraud, make sure that you indicate this so the bank can take the necessary steps to ensure that no other fraudulent purchases are made with the credit card.
Disputed items may not be cleared from your statement immediately, as the bank will likely need to conduct its own investigation first. How long that will take dependents on the type of error.

Bottom line

Every dollar of your credit card balance counts, especially if you are going to be charged interest on it. Review your credit card statements carefully every month to ensure your are only paying for purchases you made and to catch any potential errors or fraud. If you’re looking for a credit card with additional security features, compare your options until you find the right card.

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