Credit card statements and online information
When I applied for my first US credit card I also set up an online access to the credit card account. That is very useful to be able to control all your expenses online and to know your balance and available credit. It is also very convenient to pay your credit card bills online and to control all the transactions in a real time.
When the first month passed, I got an e-mail notification from my bank that I have a credit card statement ready. When I went online I could download and print my first credit card statement. The same statement I got some days later by ground mail. Interesting detail – the credit card statement downloaded from site and then printed has the same value as a hard copy statement – in US you can use it to prove your address or residence for example in DMV or other administration offices.
In your credit card statement you should see all the necessary information about your credit card account status:
- Previous balance – the balance on a previous pay period
- Payments and Credits – the sum of money paid since the last pay period
- Fees and Interest Charged – the sum charged by the bank as an interest
- Transactions – the sum of all your transactions during the current period, and the breakdown of all the transactions
- New Balance – new value that you owe to the bank
- Minimum payment – the minimum sum of money you should pay to the bank as a first payment
- Due date – the last date when at least the minimum payment should be done
On a statement it should also be the warning about minimum payment (that paying just your minimum payment will cause you to pay extra in interest) with an example, providing a total sum of money you should pay to the bank and a period of time needed if you will make only minimum payments.
Also you can read a warning what penalties (as usual fee and increased APR) will you get if you will not pay at least minimum payment.
After you get the statement you need to look at the due date column – that is the date when you should make at least minimum payment. After that date also the interest is charged on the rest of the sum in Balance column. You have several options to make payment – you can send bank check back with the amount of money you want to pay, you can make payment in a bank directly, or you can make a bank transfer (on-line or from the bank) from your other bank account.
It is better for you to try to pay all the sum before the interest is charged (usually it is 20-30 days after the statement) – that will allow you always keep good credit history, to control your budget and not to accumulate debt. That strategy will help you to keep your finances in healthy condition.
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