A credit card billing cycle is the period of time between two credit card statements, usually lasting 28-31 days. On the last day of a credit card’s billing cycle – also known as the closing date –the card’s issuer will compile the account’s billing statement. This includes a bill for all the charges made to your account during that billing cycle, minus any payments made. You can find the starting and ending dates for your credit card’s billing cycle on your monthly statement.… read full answer
Understanding your credit card’s billing cycle is important for a few reasons. First, it’s important because your statement balance – the amount you have to pay by the due date to avoid interest – is comprised of purchases made during the billing cycle. The statement balance also gets reported to credit bureaus each month and factors into your credit utilization.
Secondly, the start and end of a billing cycle determine when you have to pay for a given purchase or fee. For example, if you purchase a big TV the day before your statement closing date, you’ll owe that money on your next due date – usually about 25 days later, or however long your grace period is. However, if you buy the TV the day after your statement closing date, it will land on the next statement. So you won’t have to pay for the TV until that statement’s due date, which could be 50 or so days later. For those budgeting out big purchases, timing the purchase to get an extra few weeks to pay can make a huge difference.
Billing cycles are also important if you are taking advantage of a 0% APR intro period. These zero-interest periods are sometimes measured in billing cycles, rather than months. This difference can be worth calculating if the billing cycle is shorter than a typical month, and you are tracking how much time you have to pay off a purchase before the promotional APR period ends.
It takes 1 to 3 business days for a credit card payment to post to your account if you pay online or by phone. Payments by mail will take a few days longer. If your credit card is linked to your checking account and both accounts are from the same bank, your payment may post immediately following the transaction. Your issuer’s payment timelines are included in your monthly statement, or you can call customer service for more information.… read full answer
In order to understand how long it takes an issuer to post your credit card payments, it’s important to know the difference between “credited,” “posted,” and “cleared.” When you submit a payment, the amount is credited, meaning the issuer recognizes you paid it. But it may not post, or be reflected in your available credit, for another day or two. When a payment is cleared, the issuer has actually received the money. As long as your payment is at least credited by the due date, it’s considered on time, assuming the transaction goes through.
To avoid any worry about how long it will take for a credit card payment to post, set up your account for autopay. This feature automatically debits your bank account for a pre-determined amount on the card’s payment due date. As long as you have enough money in the account to cover the transaction, your payments will never be late. You should be able to set up autopay online or by calling your issuer’s customer service department.
The best time to pay a credit card bill is a few days before the due date, which is listed on the monthly statement. Paying at least the minimum amount required by the due date keeps the account in good standing and is the key to building a good or excellent credit score. That’s true for everyone, but some people might want to take things a step further, particularly cardholders carrying balances from month to month and people with high credit utilization.… read full answer
If you have a credit card balance that you carry from month to month, it’s best to pay that credit card’s bill as soon as the monthly account statement becomes available. This will save you money on interest. Paying the card’s monthly bill in full for two consecutive months will also reduce your interest charges by reinstituting your account’s grace period. Instead of purchases beginning to accrue daily interest charges right after you make them, you will have a window between when your monthly statement becomes available and when your bill is due to pay with no interest.
If the balance listed on your monthly credit card statements consistently equals more than 30% of the card’s credit limit, consider paying your bill multiple times per month. Paying once in the middle of the month and again before the due date will reduce the balance listed on your statement. That, in turn, will lower your credit utilization, which should help your credit score.
Here’s a quick example: You have a credit card with a limit of $1,000. You charge $500 to it, using up 50% of your credit. Then, you make a payment of $300 before the billing period closes and your statement is generated. That brings your statement balance to $200 and your utilization to 20%. Paying off the final $200 before the due date then keeps your account in good standing.
Here’s when to pay a credit card:
If your credit utilization is 30% or less and you pay in full every month, pay your credit card bill by the due date listed on your monthly account statement.
If your balance is more than 30% of your credit limit, pay your credit card bill before the billing period closes to reduce your credit utilization, then pay the remaining balance by the due date.
If you’re carrying a balance from month to month, pay off your full credit card balance as soon as possible to save on interest.
It’s a good idea to set up automatic payments with your credit card issuer so you don’t have to worry about when to pay your credit card bill. Doing so will automatically make a payment from a linked bank account every month on the due date, or a day of your choice before that. You can’t be marked late unless your account has insufficient funds. And even with automatic payments set up, you can still make additional payments any time you want.
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