Unfolding you credit card statement can be an unnerving experience.
Photo: reallyboring via flickr
For those who do not understand the numerous lines and items, it can be confusing and hard to unravel. However, considering how many errors and fraudulent charges are often caught by this one step it has become a necessary skill.
A little information can make reading through your statement thoroughly a lot easier.
- The disclosure box. This small window was made a requirement by the CARD Act. It tells you how long it will take you to pay off your debt if you pay only the minimum payment. It breaks down the complicated issues like compound interest into a single number you can understand. Seeing the number of years paying off debt can take might be scary but use it as motivation to pay more than just the minimum.
- Unintended late fees. Whether you are sending payments electronically or mailing checks, be sure to look for late fees. The CARD Act allows a grace period but your payments might still be taking too long to arrive after your transmit. You can always call and plead your case but be sure to adjust your payment date if fees are stacking up.
- Fraudulent or erroneous charges. You really should look at each item charged and be sure it was an item that was authorised. Most fraudulent activity is caught this way.