When Should I Pay My Credit Card Bill?

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Paying bills is no fun, but it’s essential to adult life. Paying your statement at the end of each billing cycle is vital to establishing a positive credit history and keeping late fees and interest to a minimum. But does It matter when you pay your credit card bill?

Make Paying Your Credit Card Bill Work for You

Part of having a credit card is paying off your purchases made with the card. The credit card purchase process involves using your credit line to make purchases, then building credit by paying off those purchases on time each month. This information is found on your credit card statement, issued at the end of a “billing cycle.”

When Is the Best Time to Pay Your Credit Card Statement?

So, is there an ideal time to pay your credit card statement? Ideally, any time before the due date.

Yes, that seems obvious, but it is an important point to hammer home repeatedly. Paying your bills on time is essential for strong credit health. Payment history makes up over a third of your FICO Score, the scoring model that banks and credit unions. When to Pay Your Credit Card Bill prefer. Because of this huge impact, paying at least your minimum is essential.

Another option for paying off a statement is to consider paying twice in a billing cycle. Paying your balance more than once means you’ll likely have a lower credit utilization rate when the bureaus receive your payment information from your bank. And since credit utilization accounts for another 30% of your FICO Score, this simple hack can supercharge your credit growth – fast!

Related Article: The Difference Between Statement Balance and Current Balance

How the Billing Cycle Works

One of the most commonly mentioned terms when it comes to account maintenance is the credit card billing cycle. A billing cycle is the period of time between the previous credit card bill you received and the current statement period.

A billing cycle typically runs for about 30 days, although it can run from 28 to 31 days (put simply, a billing cycle is a month). The billing cycle includes adding transactions during the billing cycle to your previous statement balance (if you don’t pay in full) and determining your statement balance at the end of the cycle. Once the billing cycle ends, a new one begins.

The credit card billing cycle is composed of three key dates: the statement date, the due date, and the reporting date:

  • Statement date: The date when the billing cycle is closed is known as both a “statement date” and a “closing date.” On this date the bank produces an account summary detailing all of your transactions for the period. This statement will include a list of all these transactions, the closing amount, the total balance due, and your minimum payment amount. Any purchases on or after the closing date will be applied to the next billing cycle.
  • Due date: The “due date” is the day you are required to pay. The due date is usually about three weeks after the statement date and will require you pay back at least the minimum amount due.
  • Reporting date: The final date in the billing cycle is the “reporting date.” This date is when your bank reports your payment to the major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. The reporting date changes from bank to bank and might not be immediately after the due date. Please refer to your credit card terms and conditions to see when your card issuer reports.

Grace Period

Missing the due date on your credit card statement can seriously harm your credit. Late or missed payments mean late fees, interest charges, and negative marks on your credit report. Fortunately, most card issuers provide a “grace period” immediately after the due date.

A grace period is between the end of your billing cycle and the final date your payment is due. If you pay your balance in full by the due date, you won’t have to worry about interest charges. Please note that banks are not legally required to offer a grace period. Please refer to your credit card terms and conditions to see if your bank offers a grace period.

Can You Change Your Billing Due Date?

Don’t like your due date? Maybe the dates don’t align with your pay schedule, meaning you struggle to make payments at that time. Many banks allow you to change your due date, helping your bills to work around your schedule – and not the other way around.

Related Article: Which Credit Cards Don’t Have a Credit Check?

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About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. Cory holds academic degrees in both the U.S. and U.K. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.

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