How to check your credit card balance – Forbes Advisor

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Checking a credit card balance is a fairly straightforward process that every cardholder should perform on a regular basis. Cardholders can check balances by going online or on a mobile app, calling the number on the back of the card, or checking their paper statement.

Cardholders need to know what a balance is to avoid hitting credit limits and to avoid overspending in general. It is also important to regularly check a credit card balance to ensure that the last payment was made on time without surprising charges.

What is a credit card balance?

The balance on a credit card represents the amount that the cardholder owes the credit card issuer. The balance is the sum of all purchases made during the last billing cycle (plus charges or the balance remaining after the last payment). Note that there is a difference between a current balance and a statement balance.

Most credit cards give cardholders at least 20 days to pay off any purchase without accruing interest, which is called a grace period. Cardholders can technically pay the entire statement balance before the payment due date, but still owe the issuer money if the most recent charges were made after the billing cycle has closed. .

Cardholders are not required to pay the entire balance each month (they can choose to pay their minimum payment which can be much less than the balance). Paying the entire balance before the payment due date is essential to avoid interest charges and potential late fees.

As a general rule, do not charge anything to a credit card that cannot be paid in cash. By spending responsibly this way, you can afford to pay off the entire balance each month and avoid going into debt. Carrying over a balance on a credit card account from one month to the next incurs interest and charges on each day a payment is not made. This could lead to skyrocketing debt and a higher rate of credit utilization, two factors that will lower credit scores over time.

How to check a credit card balance

1. Log in to the online account or mobile app

Signing in online or on the card issuer’s mobile app is the fastest and easiest way to check a credit card balance. Almost every bank or card issuer has an online portal that cardholders can access either on a computer or over the phone. Simply create an account on the card issuer portal and log in anytime to check the balance, make a payment, ask a question, or access support.

Use Face ID and some form of two-factor authentication security when allowing access to credit card information online or through an app, when possible. If a computer or phone is stolen, the thief will not be able to access critical financial information if it is protected by more than just a password. Try not to travel with computers and phones in the same bag to avoid losing multiple devices at once.

2. Call the card issuer

Cardholders can call the number on the back of a credit card to directly access any card issuer information. Usually it’s enough to interact with the annoying automated phone services that many card issuers use instead of paying people to answer the phone and help customers. It can ask the caller for personal identifiers like an account number (i.e. a credit card number), the last four digits of a social security number, or a phone number. Callers can find out what their current balance is, what their remaining credit limit is, and more.

Cardholders can also choose to speak to a representative if they have a more serious problem, such as a lost or stolen credit card.

3. Check the paper statements

Unless a cardholder chooses paperless billing when creating a new account, most should receive paper statements in the mail from the card issuer. Paper statements are typically sent towards the end of a billing cycle before the next payment is due. This gives cardholders enough time to review charges, check the balance, and make a payment.

Cardholders can choose to pay by mail by check or money order, but it is generally considered safer to pay online by connecting a checking or savings account to a credit card account.

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Final result

Checking your credit card balance regularly is always a good idea. This simple gesture can protect cardholders from overspending, keep you from going over your credit limit, and help quickly spot fraud if it happens.

Cardholders can check a credit card balance by logging into an online account on a computer or phone, calling the number on the back of their card, or reading paper statements that arrive in the mail or , if paperless invoicing has been activated, by e-mail or the same online portal.


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