Setup Reminder to Review Charges & Payments

Quick Look

  • Find out when your monthly credit or debit card statements come in (see “Pro Tip!” in details below) and set a reminder to review your statement.
  • This task shouldn’t take more than five minutes a month and at some point it’s virtually guaranteed to save you tens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.

Why should I review my credit card statement?

There are three reasons to review your card statements every month.

A monthly two-minute skim through your statements is likely to save you money in more ways than one.

  1. To get a quick reminder of how you spend your money
  2. To identify fraudulent charges
  3. To identify legitimate but unintended charges (subscriptions you forgot to cancel are a common example)

Let’s briefly review each.

Reminder of How You Spend Your Money

We’ve all been there. “Man! I can’t believe I spent $___ on ____!” Or, “Whoa Nelly I ate out a lot this month!” Simply put, when you see a monthly summary of your spending, you will understand where your money goes. If you struggle with keeping your spending in check – this can help you to spend more consciously. Both are good for your financial health.

Identify Fraudulent Charges

We’ve all heard about security breaches with major companies. Like it or not, these are a fact of life. At some point, your sensitive financial information is going to be exposed. Whether it happens today or two years from now, that information may be used without your permission. The good news is that credit card companies expect this. And that means they have processes in place to ensure that you don’t get stuck owing money for something that wasn’t your fault.

When you see a charge you think may be fraudulent, call your credit card company and ask for more information about the charge. Sometimes you’ll realize it was your own mistake and you actually remember what it was for. But at some point, you will identify a truly fraudulent charge. In either case, your card company should be courteous and help you work through the issue to get the charges removed. It’s pretty painless but you may need to take the first step. Not every charge will be identified automatically by the card company. 

Identify Legitimate But Unintended Charges

These generally fall into two sub-buckets. Charges that were your fault but unintended. Charges that were someone else’s fault but also unintended.

An example of a charge that’s your fault could be a subscription service you signed up for with a free trial and forgot to cancel. Or it could be an item you purchased and intended to return but forgot to. In both cases you may be able to get your money back by contacting the service or returning the item. And in the case of the subscription, even if you can’t get your money back you’ll at least stop future charges from occurring.

It’s easier than ever to sign up for a service…and just as easy to forget about it. Skimming your statements ensures you only pay for things you use.

An example of a charge that’s not your fault but is still unintended, could be a double charge for meal or a grocery store trip. This can sometimes happen if your card doesn’t appear to “go through” when you first swipe but later  – only after you’ve “swiped again” – it shows that the first charge actually did go through. Many times these types of charges will resolve themselves because your card company will realize the error and automatically remove the second charge. But if you see this mistake on your monthly statement, it’s likely been missed by the card company. Giving them a call can resolve the issue. 

Pro Tip!

If you wish your card statement came at a different time of the month – say in the middle of the month instead of the beginning, or, on a specific date – you can change that! Simply call your card company and ask them to make the change. Note that it may take a statement cycle before this is in place and in the meantime you may get a “half month” statement as the schedule adjusts.

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