For many people, the summer is a time when things may be a little more relaxed, especially during your vacation. Although there are a lot of things to do, one thing that you should do is to take some time to read your credit card statement.
A credit card statement has a lot of information on it, and some of the things you might find there might surprise you – and they may also be costing you, too. In our electronic age, identity theft is not at all unusual. One way to detect it, if your credit card has been compromised, is to carefully look over your credit card account statement.
The first thing you want to look over is your purchases. Look for any that you did not make – even small ones. The Better Business Bureau says that sometimes a thief may make a very small purchase at first just to see if you will notice. If you don’t, they will then proceed to make a much bigger one.
When you find an unauthorized charge, you should call the merchant where the purchase was made and ask them for a credit – regardless of the size of the purchase. If you do not receive the results you want, be sure to contact the Customer Service number at the bank that issued the credit card.
The best way to check all of your purchases against your credit card statement is to keep a record of all of your credit card purchases in one place, says OnGuardOnline.gov. By looking over the receipts, you will be able to better remember what you bought – and when.
You also want to look at the new balance on your statement, says AAA, and see if it reflects the approximate amount you expected. Look for any payments you made and see if they all have been subtracted from the balance.
Take a look at the interest rate and make sure that it has not changed. Many credit card companies are raising their rates to the maximum amount if you only miss one payment, or send one late. The Federal Reserve says that a credit card company cannot raise the interest rate on a credit card without giving you at least a 45 day notice.
It is possible that you obtained a credit card because it offered a low interest rate. If this was part of an introductory offer, the interest rate will automatically go to the regular rate when the introductory offer expires, which could be after three months, six months, or a year.
By keeping an eye on your monthly credit card statement, you can learn a lot. One of the best things to learn, however, is that when there are changes for the worse on your statement that you need to take action. If there is identity theft and you have unauthorized purchases, you need to contact the right people, because your credit score is probably going down fast – and so are your funds. Another possibility is that you might be able to find a better credit card with lower interest if your rates are raised.
OnGuardOnline.gov encourages you to look and see how much liability you have if someone makes unauthorized purchases on your card. It is not unusual for there to be a limitation of $50 when this happens, but many credit cards offer zero liability.