After reviewing a credit card statement, it might be tempting to just throw it away to cut down on clutter. But sometimes, there’s good reason to hold onto credit card statements.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule regarding how long to keep credit card statements, However, there are some helpful timelines worth keeping in mind for different situations. Keep reading for more insight if you’re wondering how long you should keep credit card statements.
Why Should You Keep Your Credit Card Statements?
It’s fair to wonder, why should I keep my credit card statements and how long should I keep credit card statements? Let’s start with the why.
Aside from your credit card statement balance or current balance, your credit card statements contain some pretty helpful information that can come in handy down the road — especially come tax season. If payments are made by credit card, it’s possible to review old statements to look up business expenses or other write-offs like mortgage, student loan, or tuition payments that you put on your card.
It can also be helpful to keep credit card statements in case someone needs to review them for errors or signs of fraud. It’s easy to miss mistakes when quickly reading a credit card statement while sorting the mail and checking for when credit card payments are due.
Online vs Hard Copy Statements
If you want to avoid holding onto a lot of paperwork, you also have the option to access online statements for your credit card. Credit card issuers may store this information for a while — though they won’t necessarily hold onto old statements forever.
The length of time your records are stored will vary by financial institution. Some credit card issuers only provide the past 12 months of statements, while others hold onto them for up to seven years. In many cases, five years is a common timeline.
If an old statement isn’t appearing online, the account holder may be able to call their credit card issuer and request a copy of an older statement. Still, there’s no guarantee that this will work. It can also cost money to get a copy of an older statement.
Factors That Determine How Long to Keep Credit Card Statements
So, how long should you keep credit card statements? Like the rules around keeping financial documents in general, it depends on each consumer’s unique needs. That being said, a good rule of thumb is to at least hold onto them until it’s time to prepare taxes for the year — especially if you hope to deduct expenses and may need help confirming them.
If someone does use their credit card statements to help them prepare their taxes, they should hold onto them for at least seven years just in case the IRS comes knocking with any questions.
How Long Should You Keep Your Credit Card Statements?
It’s worth noting though that consumers may have different needs than business owners when it comes to holding onto old credit card statements. Here’s a look at how the two groups can answer the question: How long do you keep credit card statements?
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How long consumers should keep credit card statements depends on how someone uses their statements. In general, it’s wise to keep your credit card statements for 60 days due to credit card rules. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), credit card issuers must receive written notice of any errors within 60 days of them sending the consumer the statement containing the error.
However, it might be smart to keep your statements for longer in the following scenarios:
• If you use your statements to make deductions on your taxes: In this case, it’s wise to keep statements for seven years. That way, if you’re ever audited by the IRS, you’ll have those statements handy as supporting documentation for deductions.
• If you decide to dispute charges: If you’re disputing charges on your credit card, it’s best to hold onto the statement in question for 90 days, as that’s how long the dispute process can take.
• If you want to track your spending: Those looking to learn more about their spending habits and create a better budget may find that holding onto a year’s worth of statements is helpful. That way, they can sit down on January 1 and get a clear picture of how you spent your money in the last year and where you can cut back. This can help with using a credit card responsibly.
• If you have an extended warranty: It’s also helpful to hold onto statements that contain purchases that came with extended warranties. For example, if someone buys a TV with a three-year warranty, the credit card issuer may offer an extended one-year warranty as a cardholder benefit. Keep that statement at the ready as a proof of purchase in case that extended warranty is needed.
For Business Owners
Similar to consumers, business owners can benefit from holding onto credit card statements for at least a year in order to track business expenses. If referenced for tax purposes, it’s wise to keep credit card statements stored away for seven years to help resolve any future potential tax issues that may arise.
When You Should Keep Credit Card Statements Longer
As mentioned earlier, if someone is going to use their credit card statements to help them prove deductions on their taxes, they’ll want to keep their own copies of their credit card statements (whether they save them on paper or digitally) for seven years. This is generally the longest someone needs to keep their statements for.
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Different Ways to Store Statements
Because credit card statements contain sensitive personal and financial information, it’s important to keep them safe. Here are a couple ways to store them:
• In a password-protected file on your computer: If someone downloads a digital copy of their statement, they can store them in a password-protected file on their computer.
• In a safe: If you want to hold onto hard copies, keep them in a locked, fireproof safe to protect them from both theft and damage.
Different Ways to Dispose of Statements
Once someone is ready to dispose of their credit card statements, it’s important to destroy the documents so no one can find them and glean information from them. Here are your options to get rid of your old credit card statements:
• Shredding or cutting them up: Shredding old documents is ideal, but if you don’t have a shredder, you can cut the statement up into very small pieces using scissors. Then, throw away the various pieces into different garbage cans.
• Deleting all files: For digital copies, simply delete the files fully from your computer — including any backup copies — once you no longer need them.
Managing Online Statements: What to Know
When it comes to online statements, you can easily save those digitally if you don’t like storing paper documents or if you’ve opted to receive paperless statements. All the cardholder has to do is download their statements and keep them stored in their digital files, ideally with password protection.
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How long someone should keep their credit card statements depends on their unique needs. If someone has extended warranties through their credit card issuer, they may keep them for the length of their warranty in case they need a reference. Or, if someone uses the statements to help them with their tax deductions, it can be a good idea to hold onto them for up to seven years in case any questions arise.
Further, holding onto your credit card statements can help you easily see your spending habits and how well your credit card is serving you. Looking for a new credit card? The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back rewards on eligible purchases, and charges no foreign transaction fees. Cardholders earn 1% cash back rewards when redeemed for a statement credit.1
How can I get old credit card statements?
If someone didn’t save their old credit card statements, they can look for them in their online account or can call their credit card issuer to request them.
Do you need to keep credit card receipts?
The ideal timeline for how long to keep credit card statements depends on the individual’s needs. It can be a good idea to keep old credit card statements for up to seven years if someone is going to use them for tax purposes. Holding onto them for at least one year is helpful when it comes time to review spending habits and create a budget.
How long should you keep credit card statements with tax-related expenses?
If someone uses their credit card statements to help them figure out tax deductions, they should keep old credit card statements for up to seven years. That way, if the IRS has questions about their deductions, they can have the documentation to back them up.
How can you keep digital credit card statements safely?
If someone downloads a digital copy of their statement, it’s best to store them in a password-protected file on their computer. Once you no longer need the statements, fully delete the files from your computer.
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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
The SoFi Credit Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri (TBOM) (“Issuer”) pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
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