Contributing Writer at Tally
March 10, 2021
There are so many dates and numbers to keep track of on your credit card. You've got due dates, statement closing dates, grace periods, interest rates, minimum payments, and so much more, so it's understandable to get a little confused.
Two commonly confused credit card dates are your credit card payment due date and the statement closing date. These dates are related, to some extent, but they are several weeks apart.
Below, we'll outline your credit card payment due date vs. closing date, highlighting the differences and how each one impacts you and your personal finances.
It's easy to confuse your credit card statement closing date with your credit card payment due date, but they're actually separate dates. Understanding their differences will help you manage your credit card debt and maintain a good credit score.
Your credit card statement closing date is the day your credit card billing cycle ends. It's also the date the credit card company mails you your monthly statement. Any new purchases you make after this date will apply to the following month's statement.
This is also the date the credit card company calculates your interest charges based on your statement balance, though it won't apply any interest to your account just yet.
While your payment isn't due on the statement closing date, you can make your minimum monthly payment anytime after the closing date.
Your credit card payment due date is at least 21 days after your credit card statement date. This is the last day to make at least your minimum payment before incurring a late fee and other penalties.
If you mail your payment to the credit card issuer, you'll want to send it out at least a few days before the due date to ensure it arrives on time.
The day following your credit card payment due date starts a new billing cycle, and the credit card company will then apply any interest it calculated on the statement closing date to your credit card account.
As we mentioned, there is at least a 21-day period between your statement closing date and payment due date. This period is the credit card grace period. There is no payment due during this time, and the credit card company will apply no interest to your account.
If you pay your credit card bill in full within the grace period, you will incur no interest. Using the grace period like this means you can reap all your credit card's benefits -- rewards, cash back, and other perks — without paying a penny on interest.
Your payment history to creditors, including your credit cards, accounts for 35% of your FICO credit score, making it the factor with the most impact. If you miss your credit card payment due date, you may incur a late fee, but you won't immediately get a missed payment mark on your credit report.
Your payment must be at least 30 days late before a credit card company can submit a cardholder's late payment to the credit bureaus.
Late payments aren't the only details a credit card company reports to the credit bureaus. Shortly after your closing date, a credit card company will report your credit card balance. This could impact your credit utilization ratio, which is your total credit card balances relative to the credit limits on your credit cards.
For example, imagine you have two credit cards with $2,000 credit limits, meaning you have a total credit limit of $4,000. If one credit card has a $1,000 balance and the other has a $500 balance, you’d have a total credit utilization ratio of 37.5% ($1,500 divided by $4,000 equals 0.375).
After your payment history, your credit utilization ratio is the most significant variable in calculating your FICO credit score — it makes up 30% of it.
Experts recommend keeping your credit utilization ratio under 30%, so if you have a $10,000 credit limit, you want to keep the balance under $3,000. If you use your credit card to cover your daily expenses, you can quickly exceed that 30% mark during your billing cycle. And if you carry that balance after the credit card statement closing date, it could hit your credit report and potentially hurt your score.
However, if you pay off that balance before your statement closing date, there's a good chance your credit card company won't report the high balance to the credit bureaus, preventing any score reductions.
That bold due date on your credit card account statement may leave you thinking it's set in stone, but it's not. Your credit card company may be willing to shift your due date to a more convenient day of the month, like your payday.
You can log in to your credit card's online interface to see if there is an option to change the due date. If there's no online option, you can call the customer service number on the back of your credit card and tell the representative you'd like to change the due date.
Keep in mind that not all credit card companies will allow due date changes, and those that do will have rules limiting the changes you can make. They also generally won't allow you to skip a payment by changing your due date.
Some credit cards include the next closing date on your credit card billing statement, but not all of them do. If your statement doesn't include the next closing date, you can calculate it with relative ease.
You'll need two things from your current bill: your last statement closing date and the number of days in your billing cycle. Starting from the last statement closing date, count forward the number of days in the billing cycle. The day you land on is your next statement closing date.
For example, if your last statement closing date was March 1, and you have 28 days in your billing cycle, your next statement closing date will be March 29.
Your credit card payment due date and closing date are similar in that they're both key dates for your credit card that can impact your credit score. But that's where their similarities end.
While your credit card statement closing date is simply the end of the billing cycle and the beginning of the minimum 21-day grace period, the payment due date is the last day you have to make at least the minimum payment before you incur a late fee.
However, there is one thing they do share: Both dates are key to maintaining a good credit score.
Understanding these two dates and their impact on your finances and credit is a key step to healthy personal finances.
If you have multiple credit cards, and you don't want to worry about missing their due dates, let Tally manage your payments for you.