Credit card e-statements are credit card statements received electronically.
Many banks and financial institutions encourage you to go paperless to save their printing and courier costs. Some may even charge a nominal amount for sending you the paper statements. If you opt for online credit card statements, you do not receive the physical statements.
Before we investigate the management of e-statements, let’s understand their pros and cons.
Pros and cons of e-statements
When you opt to receive online credit card statements, banks save some printing and postage costs. You also keep the environment green by saving pages. Besides, you save space when you don’t have to store the physical statements in files.
On the flip side, e-statements may not be available when required. For instance, you may forget where you may have saved the statement or may have deleted the mail from your mailbox for lack of space. It may happen that your hard drive, where you have systematically stored all your financial information, crashes.
Keeping the pros and cons in mind, you must first determine whether going paperless is helpful.
For instance, if you are staying in the interiors of India, where electricity and internet connectivity flickers, you may wish to receive statements in physical form. If you are engaged in business, you may wish to maintain records for 7-8 years to preserve data for income tax inquiries. In such cases, receiving a physical statement rather than an e-statement helps.
However, if these are not your concerns, and you opt for e-statements, you must manage them efficiently. Let’s proceed to discuss some common ways to manage your credit card e-statements.
Millennials like us have multiple credit cards. People in Tier 2 / Tier 3 cities also have multiple debit or credit cards. Sometimes, managing different cards is a challenge. If you have more than 3-4 cards, managing them is indeed a task.
Managing involves decluttering. Open your wallet and identify the credit cards you don’t need. Surrender them and be relaxed.
2. Update your contact information
Credit card e-statements are sent to the email ID available with the banks or the issuer. If you hold a card issued long back or have changed your residence, ensure that your contact details with the banks or the issuer are updated. This ensures that you receive the credit card e-statement in the right mailbox and on time.
3. Understand your statement
Your credit card monthly statement provides different details. It provides:
- Your details – name, address, mobile number and email ID
- Your credit card number
- Billing cycle
- Due date
- Expenses billed the current credit cycle
- Current credit statement balance
- Last statement balance
- Payment made against previous credit card statement balance
Go through these details and understand them. In case of any discrepancy, you must immediately contact the bank or issuer.
4. Saving your statements
People often complain that they have no time. That impacts record keeping, especially financial records.
When you receive your monthly credit card statements, open them, download them, take a printout if required and save them in a separate folder. The folder should be accessible easily. Also, if you save all records electronically, maintain a periodic backup.
5. Storing credit cards
Your credit card billing statement reflects your credit card transactions. Imagine the shock you may get if you realise that you have withdrawn cash using your credit card and the daily charges levied on the withdrawal until payment.
Such surprises can be saved by a simple method – keep credit cards separate from the debit cards in your wallet.
6. Monitoring your credit card payments
Monitoring your credit card payments is crucial, whether you receive physical statements or e-statements. Peek into your statements periodically to determine if the card has been misused or if any unauthorised expense has been booked.
For this, you need not wait for the monthly statement to come into your mailbox. You can log into your bank account online and click on View Credit Card Statement to check it periodically.
7. Set reminders for different due dates
All your credit cards may have different payment cycles and due dates. You may set a reminder for each card or try to change the due date to a common due date.
Settlement credit card bills on or before the due date are important for your credit score. Continuous defaults could bring down your credit score. Besides, the interest on default in payment of credit card dues is as high as 25%-30%.
8. Safeguard your devices
Personal devices like laptops, computers, smartphones etc., often do not have adequate safeguards. Information stored in such devices, including credit card information, becomes vulnerable to phishing or cyberattacks. Hence, it becomes necessary to safeguard your devices using good antivirus software.
Like bank accounts, your credit cards also need to be managed.
Hold the cards you require or the cards that provide good facilities. Surrender the others. This saves you from the possibility of late payment default if you inadvertently fail to make payment on time.
Store your credit card bank statements properly in separate folders on your computer or hard drive, so they are easily accessible. Take frequent backups to prevent data loss.
And finally, monitor your payments regularly. This keeps a check on your monthly expenses and misuse of the credit card.