Always Review Your Credit Card Bill Before You Pay It

It’s such a simple thing to do, but most people just pay whatever their credit card bill says is due without giving the charges a very thorough review. Credit card statements detail each and every charge you have made since the last statement. If you keep your credit card receipts organized, this review will not take very long and it could potentially save you money. You don’t want to pay more than you actually owe. I’ve listed below some items to look for on your credit card statements:

Compare each charge on the bill with the corresponding receipt.
That’s why it is so important to keep all your receipts. Mistakes do happen, and you could have been charged an incorrect amount. The hard copy receipt can be the proof you need.

Scan your charges for items you did not authorize.
If your card is not with you at all times, someone could have used it without your permission. And even if you haven’t lost your card, someone could have fraudulently obtained and used your card number.

Review your bill for double charges.
Equipment malfunctions or errors can cause a charge to go through twice. Dishonest employees or companies may also make duplicate charges on purpose. Our credit union usually double checks these types of charges, but ultimately it is up to the credit card holder to flag them if they happen.

Review charges imposed by the creditor, such as interest, fees and credit insurance.
If you see anything suspicious, check the cardholder agreement to make sure the charge is legitimate.

So what do you do if you find a mistake?
It’s important to act quickly when you find an error on your credit card statement. If it is the result of fraud, notifying the creditor can prevent further misuse. Cardholders must act within a reasonable amount of time in order to be protected by law.

The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) states that cardholders must report billing errors in writing within 60 days from the date the first statement containing said error was mailed. If they do so, the creditor must either correct the mistake or prove that the charge is legitimate within two billing cycles. If the charges were not authorized by the cardholder, he may be held liable for no more than the first $50.

If you have questions about a charge, then call your creditor. In the case of unauthorized charges, a customer service representative can tell you if other charges have been made since the statement was prepared. If an error is found, you must notify the card issuer in writing. Otherwise, you may have no legal recourse if they refuse to make a correction.

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4 comments

  1. Michelle says:

    Yes, also review! I have found the occasional mistake and they always fix it.

  2. Lance@MoneyLife&More says:

    I reviewed my transactions yesterday and found someone else had used my credit card. They removed the charge, cancelled the card and sent me a new one. I am definitely glad I check my credit card transactions otherwise I would have never known.

  3. Elizabeth @ Simple Finance says:

    @Lance, wow, that is scary! That’s one of my biggest financial nightmares; I am always reviewing my credit card account – even before the billing period is over – to check for things like that.

  4. Fred@Foxy Finance says:

    I had the same problem as Lance and they got away with it the month before! I now review every week!

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