The difference between a payment due date vs. closing date is important to know for responsible credit card management. The credit card closing date marks the end of your billing cycle, which determines how much you’ll owe when your credit card payment comes due. Your credit card due date, on the other hand, is when you’ll need to make at least the minimum payment if you want to avoid a late fee.
By understanding the implications of both your credit card closing date and your credit card due date, you can better strategize to make purchases and also ensure you make on-time payments.
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What Is a Credit Card Closing Date?
A credit card closing date determines your credit card “billing cycle,” which spans an interval of about 28 to 31 days. This day might vary each month, but according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), it can’t vary by more than four days.
The bank uses your credit card’s statement closing date to determine which purchases are calculated toward the current statement’s total balance and the minimum credit card payment that’s due. Any purchases made after your credit card closing date are applied to the next month’s billing statement.
The closing date for a credit card is also the date the bank uses to calculate your credit card’s finance charges, which are also called the interest charges. Typically, credit card issuers offer a grace period on new purchases starting on the date after the closing date until your credit card payment due date. During this time, interest charges aren’t incurred yet.
Although many credit card companies offer a grace period, it’s not a requirement, so check the terms of your credit card closely.
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What Is a Credit Card Due Date?
Another critical date to remember when it comes to your credit card account is your credit card due date. Payments received by the bank by 5 p.m. on the credit card payment deadline are considered on-time; after this period, your credit card payment is considered past due.
Your credit card due date is the same for each billing statement. For example, if this month’s credit card bill is due on June 15, your next billing statement will be due on July 15. This due date applies regardless of whether you’re making a full payment for your statement balance or the minimum amount due.
Although you should always aim to make your credit card payment on time, card issuers generally don’t report late payments to credit bureaus until 30 to 60 days after your credit card due date. Late fees might be applied to your credit card account if you don’t make a payment by the credit card payment due date, however, given how credit cards work.
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Differences Between a Credit Card Closing Date vs Due Date
Here’s a look at some of the key distinctions between credit card payment due date vs. closing date to keep in mind:
|Credit Card Closing Date||Credit Card Due Date|
|Last date of billing cycle||Last date to submit an on-time payment|
|Date before grace period begins||Date before the next billing cycle begins|
|Date might change slightly||Same date every statement period|
|Affects your credit utilization ratio||Can impact your credit score|
How Your Credit Card Closing Date Affects Your Credit Score
On your credit card statement closing date, your card issuer typically reports your account activity, including your card’s outstanding balance, to the three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This information impacts your credit utilization ratio, which is the ratio of credit in use compared to the amount of credit you can access.
As an example, let’s say your closing date is May 20, and you made a $2,000 purchase on your credit card on May 15. That purchase will be reported and can increase your credit utilization ratio. A high credit utilization ratio can adversely affect your credit score.
Now, let’s assume the purchase isn’t urgent and you waited until May 21 to put the charge on your credit card. In this scenario, your $2,000 credit card purchase wouldn’t be reported to the credit bureaus until the end of your next billing cycle. And if you pay it off before then, it might not affect your credit utilization ratio.
Determining Your Next Credit Card Statement Closing Date
Knowing how to decipher your credit card bill each month can help you to uncover your statement closing date. Typically, you’ll find your billing cycle dates at the top of your credit card bill. This might be called your “opening/closing dates,” and it typically will be displayed as a date range.
When reading your credit card statement, you can find these dates and then count the number of days between the dates. Then, count forward from the credit card closing date to determine your next credit card statement closing date.
Guide to Changing Your Credit Card Due Date
You might find that changing your credit card due date can help you better manage your credit card payments. This might come up if you get paid on a certain date each month and want your due date to fall closer to payday.
Generally, card issuers are willing to work with you on a due date that will help you make regular, on-time payments. However, credit issuers have different restrictions, so talk to your credit card issuer to see whether it’s flexible.
To change your credit card due date, you can either:
1. Call the phone number at the back of your credit card to speak to a customer service associate who can help.
2. Log in to your credit card’s online account and make the change (if available) yourself.
Be aware that it can take one to two billing cycles to see the change on your account.
What You Should Know About Determining Your Time to Pay
Your credit card closing date and payment due date can help you strategically decide when it’s time to pay your credit card bill. For example, if you need to keep your credit utilization low to improve your credit to secure a mortgage loan approval, then paying your credit card bill before your closing date can help.
However, if you simply want to avoid interest charges and late fees on your purchases, making a payment by your credit card due date is sufficient. Still, make sure to stay mindful of the potential to fall into credit card debt, which can be hard to shake (here’s what happens to credit card debt when you die).
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Your payment due date vs. closing date are two very important dates that relate to your credit card account. However, they aren’t the same and have different implications for your credit. Being aware of both dates can help you strategically make purchases in a manageable way and ensure you make payments on time.
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Should I pay off my credit card before the closing date?
Paying off your credit card as early as possible is always ideal, if it’s possible. Doing so can help you maintain a low credit utilization ratio, which is beneficial to your credit score.
Can I make more than one payment per statement period on my credit card?
Yes, you’re allowed to make more than one payment per statement period to pay off your statement balance. In fact, doing so can help you potentially avoid incurring interest charges and rolling a balance into your next billing cycle.
Can I use my credit card between the due date and the closing date?
Yes, you can use your credit card between the due date and the credit card statement closing date. Purchases made after your credit card due date are simply included in the next billing statement.
Is the credit card closing date the same every month?
Not always. Your credit card closing date might be the same date each month, but billing cycles can vary up to four days from the regular closing date.
Photo credit: iStock/Seiya Tabuchi
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1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.