Reviewing your credit card statements is an important part of maintaining good credit card habits. As a financially responsible individual, you might wonder how long you’re supposed to keep them. If you are receiving hard copy credit card statements, most experts recommend you keep them for 60 days. However, you might want to keep them longer if you’re a business owner or using your card for charitable donations.
How long should you keep credit card statements?
For most consumers
Most credit card policies give you 60 days to report errors on your statement, which is why that’s a good rule of thumb for how long to hang on to your hard copy 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 length of time that applies to you.
For business owners and charitable donors
If your credit card statements include any business purchases or charitable donations, you should keep them 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 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’re concerned about being able to safely store your physical statements, you can always scan 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’re 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 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 Staples or 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, but 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 often search for older ones. This makes keeping track of your credit card purchases and balances much more streamlined.
Make sure you read through each of your monthly statements. Going through your monthly charges can help you establish a budget, and check that statement credits and points or miles are calculated correctly. Most importantly, you can make sure the charges listed are accurate. If you notice any discrepancies, report them to your issuer immediately. It may indicate that your account has been exposed to an identity thief.