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Finding out how much you’ve spent with a credit card probably isn’t anyone’s favorite task; nevertheless, it’s an important one for optimal financial health.
Checking your credit card balance is the only way to know how much you must pay the card issuer in order to avoid interest charges. As credit card APRs are notoriously high, paying off your credit card bill in full and on time saves you money — and preserves your credit scores.
Regular check-ins on your credit card account can also help you stay on budget and be more mindful of your spending habits.
Credit card issuers want to get paid, so they offer a variety of ways for cardholders to check their credit card balance, some of which are surprisingly low-tech.
Here’s how to do it.
What is a credit card balance?
At the most basic level, a balance on a credit card refers to the amount a cardholder owes to the card issuer, say, Barclays or Chase. There are a few different types:
Statement balance. The amount owed at the close of a billing cycle, which is usually 28-31 days long. The statement balance will appear on the credit card statement. Issuers may send electronic statements or hard copies via mail.
Current balance. Also known as an outstanding balance, the current balance is the amount you owe at the moment you check your account. It may or may not be the same as your statement balance, depending on your card usage and your payments in between billing cycles
Negative balance. If your account has a negative balance, you don’t owe the issuer anything. On the contrary, a negative balance indicates that the issuer owes you.
How do you check your credit card balance?
There are many ways to check your credit card balance; pick the one that’s most convenient for you.
Log into your account online.
Log into your account via the issuer’s app.
If you want to know your current balance and statement balance, check your account online or in the app. Some credit card statements may not show both.
Review your credit card statement. An electronic statement may be accessed online or in the app, or you can request a paper statement. Note that some issuers charge a fee to send copies of credit card statements.
Call the issuer at the number on the back of your credit card.
Ask a representative in person. For example, if you have a Bank of America®-issued card, you could ask for your statement balance at a local branch. Want to know the balance on a store credit card such as a Macy’s card? Head to the closest store and ask one of the employees to look up your credit card balance.
Balance alerts. Some issuers allow cardholders to receive alerts that notify them when their credit card balance hits a certain amount. Alerts can usually be sent via text or email.