BACK

Research and Statistics

How to read, understand your credit card statement

How your bill should look, what information it should contain

Summary

A lot of work goes into something no one likes to see: a credit card bill. This interactive guide breaks down how yours should look and what it must contain.

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers; and please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

We know you hate getting it, but a lot of work goes into your monthly credit card bill. Your monthly statement recaps your spending, shows what you owe, when you owe it — and does so in a way that complies with rules set down by federal law and banking regulators.

Those rules changed when the Credit Card Act of 2009 went into effect and forced credit card statements to undergo a major makeover. They now must contain standardized information and clearer disclosures about how to pay your bill, and the consequences if you don’t. (Details on the federally mandated credit card bill changes are below.)

Knowing how to read and understand your credit card statement is crucial, so we assembled the guide below using bills from major credit card issuers to explain your monthly credit card statement. Click “get started,” then choose a financial instution and a topic.

CARD Act mandates changes

The CARD Act pushed card issuers to change statements to more prominently display when payments are due, the amount owed, the consequences of making late payments and how much they are paying in fees and interest on different types of accounts.

A key change added a warning about the cost of making only minimum payments each month. Each credit card bill must now have a box that states how long (in months or years) it will take to pay off the entire balance if the cardholder makes the minimum payment compared to how long it might take to pay it off when making higher payments. The box also states the total dollar amount cardholders would pay when both interest and principal is factored in. The results can be eye-opening for some borrowers.

Credit card issuers are also now required to include a toll-free telephone number on every monthly statement directing cardholders to accredited nonprofit credit counseling agencies if they should need help digging out of debt.

The previous standard for credit card disclosure was the “Schumer Box,” which required key terms to be listed in a table and included in credit card offers, applications and monthly statements. The new standard is like the Schumer box on steroids, with much more details about terms and what they mean.

See related: A guide to the Credit CARD Act of 2009Anatomy of a credit report: How to read, understand yours

What’s up next?

In Research and Statistics

Citi’s moves send interest rates down for 2nd straight week

Interest rates on new credit card offers fell for the second straight week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report, amid signs the consumer lending environment may be improving.

Published: April 21, 2010

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: July 17th, 2019
Business
15.61%
Airline
17.59%
Cash Back
17.68%
Reward
17.58%
Student
17.79%

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.