Understanding Your Credit Card Statement

By Becca Stanek · September 23, 2022 · 7 minute read

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Understanding Your Credit Card Statement

There’s also a lot of important information in a credit card statement. Specifically, you’ll find details about rates, fees, transactions, payments, and any changes to your card’s rules and regulations. All of the fine print might look overwhelming, but if you spend some time learning how to read your credit card statement, it will become easier to navigate. In fact, you may even find it helpful in understanding how to manage your credit.

Keep in mind that every credit card provider’s statement looks a bit different, though they’ll share some similarities. In other words, your statement might look a bit different from our high-level overview of a credit card statement’s components. Still, this guide can serve as a jumping-off point to better understanding a credit card statement.

How to Read a Credit Card Statement

Below you’ll find an overview of each of the major sections of a credit card statement, as well as what important information you can find there.

Account Summary

This section is an overview of all of the transactions that have taken place on your credit card account during a billing period. Here are some key pieces of information you’ll find in the Account Summary section of your credit card statement:

•   Your name and mailing address: While this is information you already know, it’s important to make sure it appears accurately on your statement.

•   Your account number: The entire account number may appear, or the statement may only list the last four digits.

•   The billing cycle’s dates: You’ll see your credit card statement closing date and the length of your billing cycle, which impact how interest is calculated. The statement will only reflect activity from the current billing cycle. This means your statement may show different numbers than what you see when you look at your account online, which may include transactions that occurred after the credit card statement cycle closed (this is the difference between a credit card statement vs. current balance).

•   The previous balance: This is the previous month’s remaining account balance.

•   The new balance: This figure takes into account all of the activity for that billing cycle. Additional purchases, interest charges, fees, balance transfers, credits, or payments are either added or subtracted to the previous balance to determine this balance. If, for whatever reason, you were credited more than you owe, that would result in a negative balance on a credit card.

•   Your credit limit and available credit: This is where you’ll find your overall credit limit, as well as how much of that remaining limit is available for your use.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit

Payment Information

In this section, you’ll find information on what is owed for the billing cycle. If you look at no other section on your credit card statement, you’ll probably want it to be this one. Here’s what you’ll find there:

•   Your new balance: This is how much you’ll owe on this particular statement. If you pay this amount in full, you can typically avoid accumulating interest charges.

•   Minimum payment: This section will include information on your minimum payment for the month. You must pay this amount to avoid late fees and negative reporting to the credit agencies.

•   Payment due date: If you fail to make the minimum monthly payment by your payment due date, you may be charged a late fee. Missing a payment might also trigger a higher penalty annual percentage rate (APR) and potentially negatively impact your credit score.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

Late Payment Warnings

Credit card statements typically have sections that state what happens in the event that a minimum monthly payment is not received by the due date listed. The late payment warning generally includes information on the penalty APR (if applicable) and the late payment fee.

Minimum Payment Warning

The minimum payment warning section explains how long it will take to pay off a credit card balance and how much interest you’ll owe if you make only the minimum payment. While it’s possible to pay off a credit card balance by only making minimum payments, the process can be slower and more costly in the long run when you factor in compound interest.

The minimum payment warning section may include details for an expedited payment schedule, such as three years, or 36 monthly payments. This can serve as a useful comparison if you’re unsure of just how much you’ll save in interest charges by making more than the minimum monthly payment.

Another way to explore interest costs over different repayment periods is by using a credit card interest calculator.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card

Rewards Summary

If you carry a rewards credit card, arguably the most fun section to review on a credit card statement can be the rewards summary. Here’s what you can find detailed in this section:

•   Prior rewards balance: This shows your rewards accrual from spending in prior billing cycles.

•   Rewards earned this period: This shows how many points or miles were accumulated over the most recent billing period through using a credit card.

•   Rewards redeemed: This will show the amount of rewards you’ve redeemed that statement period, if any.

•   Rewards available for redemption: This portion details how many points or miles you’re currently able to redeem, whether for cash or travel.

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Credit Counseling Notice

Your credit card statement may include information for nonprofit credit counseling. If you’re having a difficult time managing your credit, you might consider using this resource. These programs are typically long-term solutions, however, and may not be able to help if you’re in immediate risk of missing a payment.

If you are unable to make a payment, call your credit card company and ask about your options. Credit card companies may have ways to help.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

Notice of Changes to Interest Rates and Other Changes

If an action on your account triggers some sort of change to the account, there is usually a section dedicated to explaining this change (or potential change). For example, if a missed payment triggers the penalty APR rate, you must be notified of the change.

Similarly, if there are any other major changes to your account, rates, or fees, you may find more details in this section.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Transaction Charges

This section is a list of all of the transactions that occurred during a billing cycle, including:

•   Purchases

•   Returns

•   Any other activity that would affect the running balance on a credit card

Additionally, each transaction typically includes the following information:

•   The vendor

•   The date the transaction was made

•   The date the transaction was posted to the account

•   The dollar amount of the transaction

Note that this section will only include information from the transaction period. Transactions that happened after the billing cycle will be included in the next period’s statement.

You may want to consider making a regular habit of checking your transactions each month to look for any errors or potentially fraudulent activity. If something looks suspicious, report the activity to your credit card company.

Fees and Interest Charges

Credit card statements typically have a section dedicated to fees and interest charges. In this section, you may find the following:

•   Interest charges by type of transaction: You may be charged a different interest rate for purchases than for balance transfers or cash advances, for instance. This section will break down the APR for each transaction type.

•   Interest charge calculations: In this section, you’ll be provided with the calculation for how interest was charged on each type of transaction.

•   Year-to-date total of all fees and interest: Credit card statements may also include a total of all fees and interest charged for the current year.

The Takeaway

As you can see, your credit card statement contains a wealth of information. Learning how to read a credit card statement can ensure you have all of the details you need to be an informed cardholder. Plus, understanding a credit card statement can help you learn how to better manage your credit and take advantage of all that your card has to offer.

Perhaps one of the most exciting credit card statement sections to review is the rewards summary — but you need a rewards credit card for that to be included. If you’re looking to earn rewards through your everyday spending, consider a cash-back rewards card like the SoFi credit card.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1

Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .


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