Imagine that you have heaps of card statements on your inbox tray and you want to get rid of it in meantime. Before you bring these statements to the paper shredder, would you do one of the following?
- Take a look at the first few pages before you shred them into tiny strips of paper
- Put it under your coffee cup as your coffee coasters
- Sort them up according to their dates and the name of the card issuers
If you choose to do one of it – your life is at ‘stake’ because of your total ignorance of the risks of getting yourself into unnecessary credit card debt. By right, you shouldn’t blindly shred these statements if you haven’t checked on them.
Here are the main reasons why you should check your own card statements:
1. To verify the exact amount of total credit used
You can track your account activities and its respective transaction amount that is debited into your credit card account. If you prefer checking your statements online, it’s better to print out your statements and file it up into your folders than saving it up in your computer especially if your own more than one card.
You need to have a habit of re-checking the total credit used although it has been stated on the card statement. Visualize yourself as an “accountant” – who is highly sensitive to numbers, you have to recalculate the total credit used as well as checking each of your account activity on your own in order to make sure that you’re not overcharged by your credit card issuer.
Remember that a slight difference of your total credit used can possibly affect you in either two ways:
- If you don’t realize that you’ve been overcharged by your card issuer, you’re actually paying more than usual and that’s not worth it. Probably you would likely to experience credit card debt that you weren’t supposed to have.
- If you’re able to identify a certain amount of credit used that you didn’t use – respond in writing by writing a letter to your card issuer to notify them about the inaccurate information stated in your statement.
2. Be alert of interest rate changes
In such competitive market, banks set up their own interest rate based on a benchmark (a.k.a. primal rate) and it’s common to have interest rate changes as the response of Federal Reserve (a.k.a. US Feds) during economic recession.
However, most credit card users have not been well-informed about the changes of the interest rate because some card issuers change the terms and conditions without any prior notice. That’s the reason why you should not throw away your statement without reading it. If your current interest rate has been raised, you can start opting out to reject the new and higher interest rate. This can only be done if your card issuers have “opt out” in their policy.
Furthermore, you are likely to have your credit card account closed even if they allow you to repay the balance under the old interest rate. One thing that concerns most people is that closing your account might hurt your credit score. If you usually pay your card bills promptly, don’t opt off out of interest increase.
3. To make sure that you always get the right deal
If your past purchases are subject to the new and higher rate, there’s no point that you should continue using this card as your outstanding balance is also subject to the new rate. At this point, you can complain to the issuers about this unfair consumer practice. If you don’t get the right deal as offered, stop using the card and pay off the balance fast, or make a credit card balance transfer.