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How to read a credit card statement
Everything you need to know to read and understand your credit card statement.
If you want to keep track of your credit card spending, make timely repayments and flag any errors, it’s important to understand how to read your credit card statement. As most credit card providers use a similar layout on their credit card statements, you can use this guide to understand how your credit card statement works and what you need to pay attention to.
Key features of your credit card statement
Below we’ve outlined the major features of your credit card statement. We’ve numbered each feature to match the attached example statement to help you find these details on your own statements.
1. The statement period
Your statement period is usually listed in the top right-hand corner of your statement. If you wish to make use of your card’s interest-free days, understanding your statement period can help. One common mistake many credit card users make is assuming that interest-free days start applying from the date of the purchase. In reality, while credit cards offer up to X number of interest-free days, the exact number of days depend on your statement cycle and when you make the purchase.
For example, let’s assume that your card provides up to 55 interest-free days, and the statement period in question is from 27 February to 26 March. The interest-free period for this statement period would end on 23 April. In this example, if you make a purchase on 27 February, you can make use of 55 interest-free days, and if you make a purchase on 26 March, you get 28 interest-free days.
2. Credit limit
This indicates the total credit limit across all your cards, including any supplementary credit card(s).
3. Minimum amount due
When using a credit card, you’ll be required to pay a minimum amount each month. The minimum repayment is usually between 2-3% of your outstanding balance. Otherwise, a dollar amount in between S$10 and S$30 may apply if the balance is larger. If you pay less than the minimum repayment, you could also be fined. While you’re obligated to meet the minimum, it’s ideal that you pay as much as you can each month. If you only pay the minimum amount, it’ll take longer for you to pay off your balance in full. The longer it takes you to pay off your balance, the more interest you will pay on what’s already owed.
4. Payment due date
The payment due date is also listed on the top right-hand corner of your statement. The payment due date is the date you need to have made at least the minimum repayment by. While you can pay the minimum repayment (or more) before this date, you’ll be charged a late fee if you pay it after. Paying after your due date can also leave negative marks on your credit rating and could impact your chances of approval if you apply for another card in the future.
If you’re having trouble paying your credit card bill by that specific date, you could submit a request for the payment due date to be moved. For example, you might prefer that it falls shortly after your pay day. But if you’re just struggling to repay that month, you can also request an extension or explain your predicament to the bank. You can contact your bank directly request a change to your payment due date.
5. Overdue / Outstanding balance
The sample below indicates the outstanding balance from the previous statement (if applicable) and the total payment received from your previous statement up till the current month’s statement date for the particular card. If you haven’t paid your credit card bill or have paid less than the minimum repayment, the amount that you’re yet to repay will be detailed in the “overdue” section of your statement. The longer you have an overdue account, the more you’ll be charged in late payment fees. Remember, overdue credit card bills collect fees and interest that increases your debt, and also have a negative impact on your credit file. Overdue statements are a red flag to lenders and could reduce your likelihood or approval when applying for a future card or loan.
6. Subtotal and Total amount due
The ‘subtotal’ is the total amount charged for the particular billing cycle, and ‘total’ indicates the outstanding amount on that particular credit card.
7. Instalment plans summary
This segment displays the details of the instalment plans you are currently financing through this credit card – principal amount, instalment months, remaining instalment and outstanding amount.
8. Reward points
This is not a standard on all credit card statements, and you can expect these details only if you use a rewards credit card or frequent flyer credit card. If you do, your statement should inform you of points earned during the statement period, the total number of points in your account, point redeemed during this period, expiry date etc.
Just like reward points, this is not a standard on all credit card statements, and you can expect these details only if you use a credit card with rebate incentives. If you do, your statement should inform you of the rebates earned during the statement period, the total amount of rebate dollars in your account, and rebate dollars redeemed during this period.
How to manage errors on your credit card statement
While your credit card statement should usually be accurate, there are some instances where you might spot an error. If these errors go unreported, they could have a negative impact on your credit history and reduce your likelihood of approval when applying for future loans. This is why it’s so important to keep an eye on your credit card statement.
If you do spot an error on your credit card statement, it’s wise to get in contact with your card provider to report and resolve the issue. If you do this soon enough, the errors might not even make it to your credit file. The simple steps you can follow to report and fix an error on your statement include:
- If you spot a purchase you’ve not made, contact your card provider immediately.
- In some instances, the responsibility to prove you’ve not made the purchase is on you, so make sure you have the relevant receipts and evidence on hand.
- If you feel you’ve been a victim of identity theft or if your card has been used for fraudulent transactions, you should also contact the police as well as your provider. See our guide on how to survive credit card fraud for more tips.
- If any such errors make it to your credit file, you’ll have to contact credit reporting bodies like Credit Bureau Singapore directly to order a copy of your credit file. You can then get in touch with a credit repair agency to help clean up your credit file.
See our guide on how to lodge a credit card dispute with your bank for the contact details and steps you need to report an error on your credit card statement.
Your credit card statement might seem like just another bill to deal with at the end of every statement period, but it’s important to scrutinise it rather than just paying your bill each month. Understanding how your statement works will not only ensure that you make timely repayments and avoid incurring interest but will also help you spot any errors on your statement and resolve them before they negatively impact your credit file.
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