Have you ever looked at your bank statement and wondered, what’s the difference between your statement balance and your current balance? Don’t worry. You’re not alone!
In this blog, we’re breaking down the differences between a statement balance and a current balance.
What is a Statement Balance?
The statement balance is the total amount you owe on your credit card at the end of the last billing cycle, typically 30 days. This will include purchases you made in the last billing cycle and any outstanding balance left over from past billing cycles.
Once your credit card’s monthly grace period ends, interest charges will be charged to your account on any debt from your statement balance that hasn’t been paid. That’s why, to avoid interest, you need to at least pay your statement balance within the grace period.
What is a Current Balance?
The current balance is the total amount of purchases that have cleared your credit card account to date and have not yet been paid. This includes both your statement balance and any charges you have made within the current billing cycle.
For example, the current balance on day 20 of your billing cycle will include the balance left over from previous billing cycles and purchases made within the last 20 days.
In short, the current balance is the most up-to-date version of your credit card balance (though it won’t include any charges that have yet to clear your account).
Why Are Your Statement Balance and Current Balances Different?
The statement and current balance are different because the current balance is an amount you owe, while the statement balance reflects charges during the most recent billing cycle.
How to Find Your Statement and Current Balances
Your credit card issuer usually provides you with a monthly statement, which should also include your current balances. Here are a few ways you can find your statement and current balances.
Check your online account: You can easily view your statement and current balances by logging into your online account with your credit card issuer or bank.
Check your mobile app: Many credit card companies and banks have mobile apps for customers to download, so customers can quickly view statement balances and current balances at their fingertips.
Check your monthly statement: Credit card companies and banks usually mail a monthly statement that includes your current balances. The statement will also list any transactions during the billing period.
Contact customer service: If you can’t find your statement and current balances through your online account or mobile app, you can always reach out to a customer representative.
How Do Your Statement Balances Affect Your Credit Score?
Your statement balance, listed on your monthly credit card statement, is usually not used in calculating your credit score. However, suppose you have a high statement balance and fail to pay it off monthly. In that case, it can lead to a high credit utilization and negatively impact your credit score and even your ability to qualify for loans.
Which Should You Pay?
It is wise to pay your statement balance rather than your current balance. Paying your statement balance helps you avoid interest rates, which can add up quickly and make it more challenging to pay off your credit card debt.
What If You Can’t Pay the Statement Balance?
If you’re having trouble paying your statement balance, consider the options below.
- Contact your credit card issuer. Many credit card issuers offer plans that help you manage debt and avoid falling behind in payments.
- Consider consolidating your debt. If you have multiple credit card accounts, consolidation can help simplify and lower your payments.
- Consider a balance transfer. A balance transfer can let you move debt from one account to another. This can be a solution for saving money on interest rates.
- Seek financial help. If you’re struggling to pay off your debt, consider reaching out to a financial advisor who can help set up a plan to work towards paying off your debt.
It’s important to note that falling behind on payments can lead to late fees, increased interest rates, and even negatively impact your credit.
When You Might Want to Pay the Current Balance
Believe it or not, there are a few incidents where you may want to pay your current balance. Here are the following reasons.
- To avoid a late fee: If you are close to the due date for your monthly payment and cannot pay the entire statement balance, paying the current balance can help you avoid a late fee.
- To reduce your interest charges: If you have a high-interest rate on your credit card and cannot pay the statement balance, paying the current balance can help you reduce interest rate charges.
- To positively impact your credit score: If you cannot pay the statement balance, paying the current balance on time can help you avoid missing a payment and negatively impacting your credit score.
How Automatic Payments Can Help You Avoid Interest
Automatic payments can be a handy tool for avoiding interest. If you are unfamiliar with automatic payments, it allows individuals to set up automatic payments through their bank accounts to pay monthly bills.
Here are a few ways that automatic payments can help you avoid interest.
- On-time payments. Automatic payments ensure you never miss a payment and avoid late fees. Therefore, by setting up an automatic payment, you can rest easy knowing you have paid on time.
- Paying the entire statement balance. You can avoid carrying a monthly balance and interest charges if you utilize automatic payments.
- Avoiding high balances. Automatic payments can help you avoid high balances because you’re paying bills on time. In addition, it can help keep your utilization rate low, which can positively impact your credit.
While automatic payments can be helpful, monitoring your spending and checking out for possible signs of credit card fraud is still essential.
Knowing the difference between your statement balance and current balance can help you better manage your credit card accounts and ensure you make the correct payments.
Also, remember to protect your credit! A monitoring service like IdentityIQ can monitor credit score changes and alert you of any suspicious activity. Sign up for an identity theft protection plan or learn how IdentityIQ can protect you!