Billing statement

Billing statement is a money term you need to understand. Here’s what it means.

What is a billing statement?

A billing statement is a monthly credit card bill that summarizes activity on your account over the preceding month. The bill itemizes all purchases as well as payments received. It shows the current balance on the account and the date by when the account must be paid to avoid finance charges.

Deeper definition

Many people rely on their credit cards to pay for their regular purchases and also for larger one-off purchases. Although these transactions are reflected on their monthly billing statements, not everyone understands the importance of checking those transactions and ensuring that he or she is making the minimum monthly payment to avoid late payment fees.

Information on the billing statements includes:

  • Opening balance showing how much you owed at the beginning of the month.
  • Purchases made during the month.
  • Cash withdrawals made.
  • The interest charged on the outstanding balance.
  • Any late payment fees incurred.
  • The total amount owed at the date of the statement.
  • The minimum payment required.
  • Due date for the minimum payment.

Other pertinent information provided includes the interest rate charged on the balance you carry forward, your credit limit and available credit.

While your credit card allows you to charge up to your credit limit, it’s crucial to understand this is costly due to the high interest rate charged on credit cards. It pays to keep your outstanding balance as low as you can to reduce interest charges. Also, when you receive your billing statement, make sure you at least pay the minimum to avoid a late payment penalty.

Billing statement example

Martha uses her credit card for day-to-day purchases, and when she receives her paycheck, she pays the balance off. Occasionally, she uses her card for purchases that are large and pays these off over several months. She always pays the minimum balance before the due date and consequently ensures her credit rating is sound.

She makes sure her billing statement is correct by comparing her records of what she bought, money she withdrew and payments she made when she receives her monthly billing statement.

Do you travel a lot? Use Bankrate’s credit card calculator when you do.

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