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Balancing Your Credit Card Statement

  • By Lauri Paxton
  • 15 Mar, 2014
Credit card hacking is big business these days. It seems on a regular basis, Target and other retailers have had security breaches in their systems.  You may have experienced a situation where you used a credit card and now your personal information may be in the hands of hackers.  Regardless if it’s an individual account or a business account, it’s very important to check your statement each month for purchases.
Particularly business accounts with multiple card users, receipts and expense reports should be reconciled.  By doing this on a monthly basis, any discrepancies in regard to employee expenditures can be resolved.  Having sound financial policies and procedures in place will allow for appropriate disciplinary action if necessary.
What happens if you find unauthorized transactions on your account? Notify the credit card issuer immediately.  Often credit card companies have monitoring in place that may detect unusual activity.  If they suspect unauthorized charges they may place a hold on the account and/or contact you directly.
Visa, MasterCard and American Express have zero-liability policies meaning that if someone uses your credit card number to make unauthorized transactions you can usually be reimbursed.  However, depending on your credit card company, it may exclude transactions made using a PIN such as a cash advance.
Balancing cards monthly help you to stay on track in regard to spending habits.  Some credit cards offer point for purchases, but of what value are those points if you are carrying a balance with a high interest rate.  Strive to pay cards off monthly to avoid interest charges.  If payments are made late, in addition to a late fee, some credit card companies will also raise your interest rate.
Smart Chip is a credit card technology where cards are embedded with chips and a cardholder must put in their pin or sign for each transaction to be approved. With “chip & pin” especially, this is an ultra-secure method that makes it much harder for credit card hackers and fraudsters to steal from consumers since, rather than just stealing the information contained in a card’s magnetic strip, they’d have to know the carrier’s pin number as well.
Be proactive, understand your rights as a credit card holder and review and balance your statement monthly for any discrepancies.
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