Credit Card Closing Date Vs. Due Date: What’s The Difference?
Dan Miller5-Minute Read
September 12, 2021
You know how important it is to pay your credit card bill on or before its due date. If you pay your bill late, your credit card provider could make you pay a penalty. And if you pay 60 days or more late, your card provider could raise your interest rate.
And that’s just the start of your problems: If you pay your credit card bill 30 days past its due date, your three-digit credit score will fall, too, often by 100 points or more. And that will mean higher interest rates if you take on any additional loans or credit cards.
But did you know that there are two key dates when it comes to credit card bills? There’s your credit card’s due date, which is when you must make at least your minimum monthly payment if you don’t want to be hit with a late payment fee. But there’s also your credit card statement closing date, which determines how much you’ll owe on your due date.
What Is A Credit Card Closing Date?
You credit card's statement closing date is the last day of your current billing cycle. Generally, credit card billing cycles last 28 – 31 days. Your card provider will add up every charge you make during this billing cycle. The amount you owe on your card's statement closing date is the amount you will be charged on your card's due date.
Your due date usually falls 20 – 25 days after your closing date. For example, if your closing date falls on the first day of the month, you'll usually need to make your payment sometime from the 21st to 26th day of the month.
On your closing date, your credit card provider will calculate any monthly interest charges that you owe in addition to the total amount of new charges you made during your billing cycle. It will also determine the minimum payment you must make on or before your due date to avoid a late payment fee. If you pay at least this amount, you won’t face any late fees.
Your credit card’s statement closing date is the day your card’s billing cycle ends. You’ll have to make your credit card payment on your card’s due date, which typically comes 20 – 25 days later. You must make your minimum monthly payment on your due date to avoid any late fees. If you want to avoid paying interest on your purchases, you must pay your balance in full on or before your due date.
What Is The Credit Card Due Date?
Your credit card due date is when you must pay at least your minimum monthly payment to avoid any late fees. Typically, you’ll have 20 – 25 days from your statement closing date to your payment due date. This is known as the grace period, the time you have to gather up the money you’ll need to pay your credit card bill.
You don’t have to wait for your card’s due date to make your payment. You can make credit card payments whenever you’d like, something that is especially convenient if you make your card payments online. You can log onto your credit card account any day and pay off your balance in full or make a partial payment.
Paying your credit card balance off in full during the grace period and before your card’s payment due date means that you won’t have to pay interest on your charges. That’s a smart financial move: Credit card interest rates are high, often 19% or higher. If you don’t pay your balances off in full on or before your due date, you could be charged hundreds of dollars in interest on the unpaid amount of your debt.
How Does Your Credit Card Closing Date Affect Your Credit Score?
Each month, on your statement closing date, your credit card provider will report the balance on your card to the three national credit bureaus: Experian™, Equifax® and TransUnion®. This is an important day for your three-digit FICO® credit score: The lower your credit card balance, the better it is for your credit score.
This is because of your credit utilization ratio. This ratio, as its name suggests, measures the amount of your available credit you are using. There is no rule on how much of your credit you should be using at any one time. What is certain, though, is that a lower credit utilization ratio is always better for your credit score. If you have a low amount of credit card debt, your credit score will rise. If you are using most of your available credit when your card provider reports to the credit bureaus, your score will fall.
A higher score makes your life easier. You’ll more easily qualify for loans and new credit cards if your credit score is high. You’ll also qualify for lower interest rates on these products.
It makes sense, then, to pay off as much of your credit card balance before your statement closing date instead of waiting to pay it off on your due date. Doing this will lower your credit utilization ratio and help you avoid a hit on your credit score.
But don’t worry if you don’t have the money to pay off your debt before your closing date. Save your dollars to make sure that you can make a payment – hopefully one that covers your entire balance – on or before your card’s due date. If you miss this payment by 30 days or more, your provider will report it as late to the credit bureaus, and that could cause your credit score to fall by 100 points or more.
Can You Change Your Credit Card Closing Date?
Would a new closing date or due date make sense for your finances? You can request that your credit card provider change one or the other. Just realize, if you change your payment due date, this will also change your statement closing date.
Here’s an example: Maybe you are paid on the 5th and 20th day of every month. If your credit card’s due date is on the 15th day of the month, you might ask your provider to change this to the 21st day of the month. That way, you’ll have been paid a day earlier and will have more funds to pay a larger chunk, or all, of your credit card balance.
Call the customer service number on the back of your credit card. You can then ask the service representative to change your card’s due date. If your provider agrees – and it usually will – this will also change your credit card’s statement closing date to sometime from 21 – 25 days before your new due date.
Why might you change your credit card’s due date?
- A new date might be after a payday, making it easier to pay your balance.
- You might want to space out bill payments, making sure you have breathing room between your rent, credit card and utility payments.
- You might want to increase your chances of paying your balance off in full, improving your credit utilization ratio.
The Bottom Line
While it’s most important to remember your credit card’s due date – and to make at least your minimum monthly payment at this time – your closing statement date is another important day in your credit card’s billing cycle. And if you can swing it, bringing your card’s balance to zero by that date can boost your credit score. To learn more about managing your credit card, check out our guide to paying off credit card debt.
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