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Understanding Your Student Credit Card Statement

By: Larry Goldberg

If you’ve got a new student credit card, you have a monthly statement to decipher, and figuring out what it’s saying to you means the difference between making your correct payment on time and mishandling your total payment – which can cost you quite a bit in late fees and credit ratings.


Examining the Statement

Your first step should be to look at everything your credit card statement contains.


  • Previous Balance: One of the things that will appear somewhere on your student credit card statement is your balance from last month. Check to be sure that it is correct. You may also want to check to make sure that your balance is actually on a downward spiral with each payment.
  • New Charges: These should include an purchases you may have made this month as well as any fees being charged by the card company. Make sure each entry is actually correct before you pay anything.
  • Account Credits: This section is going to be any returns that have been applied to your account as well as your last payment. If you took that great sweater you charged back to the store, make sure the money made it back to your card. Likewise if you made a big payment last month, make sure it appears on your statement as well.
  • Due Date: This is one of the most important sections of your statement, as it can be the difference between a positive and negative entry on your credit report. You should also make sure that you understand the due date is the day the check arrives in your company’s system, not the date you mail it. If you pay your bill electronically, make sure you understand when it will actually be applied to your account.
  • Minimum Payment: This is how much you have to pay the credit card company on this billing cycle. In some cases, it can be as much as five percent of your balance, but that depends on the card company itself.


Understanding the Charges

If ever something appears on your bill that you don’t understand – like a cash advance fee, a transaction fee, or some other odd fee – be sure to call the card company right away. In most cases, they’ll be able to tell you why you were charged the fee and how it affects your total balance and the minimum monthly payment. Should you find a charge you cannot account for, it is essential to contact your student credit card company right away to dispute the charge and file a complaint. You have only sixty days to do so, so make that call as soon as your credit card statement arrives.


Figuring out how to make your credit card statement a little more user-friendly can be tough, but ignoring it each month and just making the minimum monthly payment won’t make it go away. It may only make things harder to swallow in the end. Know your statement and your card, and you’ll be on the path to great credit.



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