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Statement balance vs current balance whats the difference

statement balance vs current balance

Do you know the difference between a statement balance vs. current balance? A statement balance is the amount you owe on your monthly billing statement, and a current balance is the total amount you owe on a credit card. 

But how can you successfully manage your finances and pay down your credit card debt? Learn how statement balances compare to current balances and how to better manage a credit card below. 

Statement Balance and Current Balance Defined

What is the difference between your statement balance and your current balance? While you will find both of these balances on your monthly credit card statement, they represent two different amounts. 

Your statement balance shows the amount of money charged during a particular billing cycle. Your current balance reflects the amount of money you owe on your credit card overall, which includes statement balances from previous billing cycles that you haven’t paid off yet. 

Let’s look at an example. Say you have a card with a total credit limit of $2,000. Then, let’s say your total balance was $0 in January, and you charged $300 in February and $500 in March. When you receive your card statement for the month of March, you will see that your statement balance is $500, and your current balance is $800 (since it includes the previous statement balance from February). You spent $500 for the particular billing period of March but $800 overall.

What Types of Loans Have a Statement and Current Balance?

Funding TypeDescriptionBalances: Statement vs. CurrentHow to Manage
Credit Card Revolving line of credit allowing repeated borrowing up to a certain limit. Statement balance reflects transactions up to the closing date of the most current billing period. Current balances include all transactions up to present. Regularly review monthly statements, set spending limits, and pay off the statement balance in full to avoid interest. 
Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)A line of credit secured by a homeowner’s equity. Statement balance is the amount owed at the end of a billing period. Current balances include any new draws or charges. Monitor monthly statements, avoid unnecessary draws, and make regular payments to reduce the balance. 
Personal Line of Credit An unsecured revolving credit line with a bank or financial institution. Statement balance reflects the amount borrowed up to the end of the billing period. Current balances include all transactions and fees up to now. Set a borrowing limit, regularly check online banking, and make consistent payments. 
OverdraftA facility allowing the holder to withdraw money beyond the available balance. Statement balance shows the overdraft amount at the end of the billing period. Current balances reflect real-time overdraft including fees. Opt for overdraft alerts, monitor accounts regularly, and deposit funds to cover the overdraft as soon as possible. 

Current Balance vs. Available Balance

There is also a difference between the current balance and the available balance on your credit card. As discussed, your current balance is your cumulative balance that reflects the amount of money you owe your credit card issuer overall. Your available balance, however, reflects the amount of money you have available to spend on your card. 

Looking at the previous example above, if you had a card with a limit of $2,000 and a current balance of $800, that would leave you with an available balance of $1,200. After deducting the $800 balance from the $2,000 credit limit, you would be left with $1,200 available until the next billing cycle.  

How To Find Your Statement Balance and Current Balance

Each month, credit card account holders receive a billing statement from their credit card issuer. This card statement will contain information such as: 

  • All current balances.
  • The previous balance from the last billing cycle.
  • Your entire statement balance 

Each balance will be clearly labeled, so you can easily identify how much money you owe overall vs. how much money you owe for that one billing cycle. If you receive your credit card monthly statement and are unclear about which balance is which, you can always contact your issuer and have an agent identify everything with you over the phone or in person. 

Why Is My Statement Balance Higher Than My Current Balance?

Since your statement balance and your current balance are two separate balances, you may often find that they are different amounts. Typically, your credit card statement balance will be higher than your current balance. This is because your current balance includes any unpaid balances from past billing cycles, as well as interest charges. The higher your current balance, the faster you will accrue interest. 

How Does a Credit Card Bill Work?

You can typically access your bills and statements for credit cards online, but you may also opt to receive paper statements and bills in the mail. However, you may find that it is much easier to handle your credit account online. By connecting your card account to your bank or checking account, you can make payments and pay off your balances with the push of a few buttons on your smartphone or computer. 

Paying a Credit Card Bill

Whether you opt to receive your credit bill online or in the mail, it’s essential to make a payment every month. The only exception to this is if you have a current balance of $0. 

How does making payments on credit cards work? Your current balance is broken down each billing cycle to help determine your minimum amount due. Your minimum amount due is the amount of money you owe your credit issuer that month. Typically, the higher your current statement, the higher your minimum amount due will be. For example, if you have a current balance of $100, you may find that your minimum payment due is only $25. But, if your balance gets higher, say $1,500 or more, your minimum payment due may be between $50 and $100. 

Paying Off Your Current and Statement Balance

Remember that you are allowed to pay more than your minimum amount due each month. In fact, most financial institutions encourage borrowers to pay as much as possible towards their monthly credit card balances. If possible, it’s best not to carry a balance at all. If you pay off credit purchases right after making them, the charge may never appear on your credit card balance! You can avoid being charged interest by paying off your credit card purchases immediately or before the next billing cycle.  

You may also pay off your credit card balance during a billing cycle to bump the available credit back up. For example, say your credit limit is $2,000, and you spent $400 but paid it back the next day. As soon as you paid that $400, your credit limit would bump back to $2,000. 

Do Credit Bureaus Care About My Statement Balance vs. Current Balance? 

It’s important to note that your statement and current balances can affect your credit score. Credit bureaus care about the total amount of debt you owe, which includes credit card balances. According to the Federal Register, the total amount of outstanding credit card balances in America reached its peak in 2019 at $926 billion dollars. Since then outstanding balances have gone down, with the total amount of outstanding balances dipping to $825 billion dollars in 2020.1 

Your balances and total debts work towards determining your credit utilization ratio, or credit utilization rate. You can calculate your utilization ratio by comparing your total debts to how much money you bring in regularly. Typically, credit bureaus like to see consumers having a low credit utilization rate, usually around 30%. 

What To Do When Your Credit Card Balance Is Out of Control

What do you do when your current credit balance is out of control? Before digging yourself into too much credit card debt, try these helpful tips to get your finances back on track. 

Try a No-spend Challenge 

Try a no-spend challenge while you work towards paying off your balance. First, calculate your required expenses like gas, groceries, rent/mortgage, etc. Then, try starting off small and going a few days or weeks without spending money on anything outside of those required expenses. You may find that a few weeks or months of no spending is enough to help you catch up on your balances! 

Hide Your Card 

If you are having trouble resisting the urge to use your card, try keeping it out of your wallet or purse for a while. Hide your card in a secure place like a safe, and only reach for it in dire financial emergencies. You may find that keeping your card out of reach is enough to deter you from using it unnecessarily. 

When Should You Cancel a Card?

You want to avoid canceling a credit card unless it is absolutely necessary. The credit limits you have on credit cards work in your favor when it comes to your credit utilization. If you cancel a card, you may reduce the amount of credit attributed to your credit profile by hundreds or thousands of dollars. By canceling a card, you may inadvertently raise your credit utilization ratio, which could end up negatively affecting your credit score. 

However, sometimes canceling your card is what’s best for your bank account and personal financial situation. It is definitely possible to survive without having a credit card. Here are some signs it may be time to cancel a credit card. 

If You Can’t Stop Spending

If you cannot resist the urge to spend impulsively, it may be time to close your credit card. Excessive spending can lead to massive amounts of debt and potential late or missed payments. If habits like that persist, you may find yourself in a loan default that could take multiple years to clear off your credit report. 

If You Cannot Afford the Fees

Many credit cards come with annual fees and other charges. If you cannot afford these payments and your card issuer won’t budge when it comes to reducing them, it may be the right choice to cancel the  card altogether. 

Credit Card Issuer vs. Direct Lender: Which One Is Better?

You may be trying to decide if it would be best to go with a credit card company or a direct lender when you need funding. Depending on your financial needs and situation, you may find that one type of financial institution works better for you than the other. 

Credit card issuers connect borrowers to revolving lines of credit. That means borrowers have a predetermined credit limit they can spend from as they please throughout their billing cycle. Once the billing cycle ends, borrowers are only charged interest on the money they actually used, not their entire credit limit. Once the new billing cycle begins, borrowers have access to a renewed credit limit which they can then continuously spend from and pay off for as long as their account is open. 

Direct lenders distribute loans in one set lump sum and charge interest on the entire loan amount. Borrowers then pay off their loan in fixed payments and must apply for a new loan if they ever want additional funding. If you are looking to cover one large expense, a direct lender may be the right choice for you. 

Before you commit to a direct lender, doing some research is a good idea. You may find that loans like fast payday loans online come with low loan amounts and high rates, while other types of funding, like convenient personal installment loans, can come with higher loan amounts and more competitive interest rates. 

FAQ: Statement Balances vs. Current Balances 

What does “last billing cycle” mean in relation to credit cards?

The “last billing cycle” refers to the previous period for which your card issuer generated a statement, capturing all transactions made during that time.

How is the statement balance different from the current balance for credit cards?

The statement balance reflects all transactions up to the closing date of the last billing statement, while the current balance is a real-time amount that includes all transactions up to the present moment, including any unpaid statement balances.

If I only pay the minimum payment required, how does it affect my balances?

The minimum payment reduces your current balance, but any remaining statement balance will carry over to the next cycle and may incur interest.

How does the statement balance from my most recent billing cycle impact my current balance?

If not fully paid, the statement balance from your most recent billing cycle is added to any new transactions to determine your most recent balance.

Why is my credit utilization ratio important, and how does it relate to these balances?

Your credit utilization ratio is calculated by dividing your current balance by your credit limit. A high statement balance that isn’t paid off can increase this ratio, potentially affecting your credit score.

Can my statement balance ever be different from what I see on my credit card statement?

Your statement balance is a snapshot of what you owed at the end of the last billing cycle and matches what’s on your card statement. However, your current balance can change daily.

If I have a dispute on a charge, which balance will it affect?

Once resolved, any adjustments due to a dispute will affect your current balance and will be reflected in the next statement balance.

How can I ensure that my credit utilization ratio remains favorable?

Regularly monitor both your statement balance and current balance, aiming to keep them low in relation to your credit limit. This will help maintain a low credit utilization ratio.

Why might my current balance decrease even if I haven’t made a payment?

If there are refunds, credits, or adjustments applied to your account, your current balance can decrease even without a payment.

How can I better manage my statement balance to ensure a healthier financial standing?

Regularly review your card statement, set budget limits, and aim to pay off the statement balance in full each month to avoid interest and maintain a lower current balance.

A Word From CreditNinja About Balances on Credit Cards 

Knowing the difference between your current and statement balances is imperative when it comes to staying on top of credit cards. If you feel your current balances are starting to get out of hand, be sure to contact your credit provider right away. They may have advice or other financial options available for you. CreditNinja also suggests you try to limit your credit spending if you feel your balances are getting out of control. 

Looking for more information on credit cards, handling your personal loan balances, and more? Check out the CreditNinja dojo for free articles, financial calculators, and other financial resources! 

References:

  1. Consumer Credit Card Market Report of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, 2021 | Federal Register
  2. Credit Card Balance and Statement Balance: What’s the Difference? | Experian
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