How long should I keep my credit card statements?

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Reviewing your credit card statements is an important part of maintaining good credit card habits.

Your credit card statement doesn’t just tell you your monthly balance, but can be a window into your spending habits and financial needs. Learning how to read your credit card statements is important in order to understand how you are being charged and to identify any errors that may occur, not to mention that credit card statements can be helpful for accounting purposes. But how long should you hold on to your credit card statements?

How long should you keep hard copy statements?

If you are receiving hard copy credit card statements, most experts recommend that you keep them for 60 days. Most credit card policies say you have 60 days to report any errors on your statement. However, some issuers have extended warranty policies of 90 days, and some give up to a year. Consult your issuer’s policy for reporting statement errors to find the most accurate length of time that applies.

If your credit card statements include any business purchases or charitable donations, you should keep them for longer. This is because you will likely need to document those purchases on your taxes. It’s important to hold on to evidence for tax-related purchases for at least six years in the event that your tax returns are audited. Even if you have access to digital statements, it’s still a good idea to hold on to your physical statements. While your issuer may have years of your statements archived, they may not be easy to access. And there’s no guarantee that your issuer will hold on to your old digital statements at all.

What is the best way to store statements?

Keeping your credit card statements in a secure place is important for protecting your data. For hard copy credit card statements, it’s important to store them in a fireproof space. If you have access to one, a fireproof safe is a great option as it provides safety and security.

If you are concerned about being able to safely store your physical statements, you can always scan them and store them digitally. For digital statements, make sure they are stored in a password-protected folder. As an added layer of security, make sure your computer is password-protected as well. Be sure to keep your statements organized by labeling them by month and storing them by year. You can also add notes to any statements that may have errors so that they are easy to identify.

What is the best way to dispose of statements?

When you are ready to dispose of your statements, security is still an important consideration. For hard copy statements, you don’t want to simply throw them in the trash. Doing so could make your information readily available to dumpster-diving identity thieves. Instead, shred your statements before you throw them away. This makes the information on the statement unreadable and protects your personal information.

If you don’t have a paper shredder, you may want to invest in one. You can buy one for around $30. If you’re not ready to make that investment, you could take your documents to a copy shop, like Office Depot, that offers shredding services. You can also shred your documents by hand or using scissors. Just make sure you cut the statements in a way that vital information is not readable.

Managing online statements

More and more issuers are encouraging cardholders to move to e-statements. Not only does this help save on paper, it also provides a layer of security for your statements. E-statements are accessed from your online account, which is password-protected. Issuers also use secured platforms, adding another layer of protection for your data. Another perk to using online statements is that you have ready access to your most recent statements. You can easily scroll through recent statements and can often search for older ones. This makes keeping track of your credit card purchases and balances much more streamlined.

Make sure you are thoroughly reading through each of your monthly statements. Going through your monthly charges can help you establish an accurate budget for your spending. You can also make sure that statement credits and points or miles are calculated correctly. And most importantly, you can make sure that the charges listed are accurate. If you notice any discrepancies, report them to your issuer immediately. It may be a signal that your account has been exposed to an identity thief.