Not many of us relish the thought of ripping open our credit card statements the second they hit our doormats, whether through a suspicion that they might not contain the best of news, or even just a preference to be doing something (anything) more exciting. It’s not unusual for credit card statements to be basically ignored, filed away in the ‘to do’ pile permanently unopened.
There are several problems with this approach though, and here are just three:
Keeping On Top
Credit cards make it so easy to spend that there’s the constant danger of running up debts that are uncomfortably larger than we’d like. Regularly inspecting your statement, even if it doesn’t make for pleasant reading, helps to keep us grounded in reality and less likely to ‘splurge’ unnecessarily. Not opening the statement because you fear the bad news is only delaying the inevitable, and probably making the situation worse the longer it continues.
Rather than resulting in a dramatic emptying of your account, a large amount of credit card fraud is done more subtly. Fraudsters often try to evade automatic detection systems by only making small transactions, but repeating them regularly and across a large number of cards. By checking your statement and ensuring you’re happy with every transaction, you stand a much better chance of picking up on something dodgy before too much damage is done.
Changes to Terms and Conditions
You’re probably familiar with the ‘changes to terms and conditions’ letters you get every so often from your card company. Do you actually read them? Thought not. I certainly don’t. That is, I didn’t used to.
One of the credit cards I use brought the statement date forward a week, meaning that my standing order every month now resulted in a late payment.
While I’m sure that I was doubtless informed in a legalese letter that this was to happen, it was only when I saw the late payment fee on my statement that I noticed what was happening. Had I not checked my statement, that situation could have continued for months, costing me plenty in both cash and damage to my credit rating.
So there we have it. Checking your statement is never going to be fun, but setting aside just a few minutes a month to give it the once-over could stop you getting into trouble with your card, and even save you money