15

I just recently got my very first credit card, the Discover It Card. I knew it was crucial to have one, as a great credit score is needed for important things. The question I have is in regards to the payment due date. I got the card on August 27th, and was told that the due date is the 2nd of each month.

If I buy something today (August 29), when will I have to pay? I want to start of my credit on a good note.

  • 2
  • 2
    Hi Santi, welcome aboard! Check your credit card bill for the following dates: "Closing Date" and "Payment Due". Any charges made before the Closing Date will appear on your next bill, and payment is expected by the Payment Due date. Any charges appearing after the Closing Date will appear on the next bill. – spuck Aug 29 at 18:37
  • @spuck The thing is, I haven't gotten any bill yet for the card, as I just recently got it. But I will keep this in mind when it does come, so thanks! – Santi514 Aug 30 at 4:54
  • Some cards will allow you to choose the date your payments are due. If you get paid once per month you can choose to have the bill due a week later, or whatever you want. I pay my main card electronically and by default the bank holds the payment so it is delivered on the due date. That is nice in that you pay as late as possible, but means you have almost two months of charges just before the bill is paid. That can lead to high utilization score and a (short term) hit to your credit rating. – Ross Millikan Aug 30 at 5:38
  • For most cards, in practice you have been about 2 and 6 weeks interest-free credit before your monthly payment, depending on when you make the purchase within the monthly cycle. For example on one of my cards the account statement is made on the 14th of each month, and payment for that statement is due by about the 6th or 7th of the following month. So if I buy something on June 15th, it shows on the statement dated July 14th, and if I pay before August 6th I get no interest charged. But if I bought something two days earlier on the June 13th, the interest free period would end on July 6th. – alephzero Aug 30 at 12:23
22

There is a delay between the billing cycle and when the payment is due, it can vary, but it means you don't pay for any purchases for at least the length of the delay. In cases where you purchase at the beginning of the billing cycle, that's at least a month before you pay, but even in cases where you make purchases at the very last day of your billing cycle it's likely at least 2 weeks before you pay.

Coincidentally I have a card with payments due on the 2nd of each month, the billing cycle ends the 5th of each month. To avoid interest all the purchases I made between July 6 and August 5 need to be paid by September 2nd.

So, most likely your August 29 purchase will be payable October 2nd, but review your documentation to understand when your billing cycle ends.

  • 5
    +1 for but review your documentation to understand when your billing cycle end - when in doubt just call the number on the card and ask! – dwizum Aug 29 at 17:51
  • 1
    @Hart CO So I essentially have a month to pay whatever I buy? And I read over the Cardholder Agreement twice and it didn't offer much help to me – Santi514 Aug 29 at 17:52
  • 1
    Good answer. It's important to keep in mind this lag when using a credit card, since you pay the bill 1-2 months after the purchase. I charge most of my expenses, but even if I stopped using my card today, I'd still have ~2 months of expenses that need to paid. – Nuclear Wang Aug 29 at 17:53
  • 3
    @Santi514: It depends on when your billing cycle rolls over. As another exampe, my card bills on the 15th of each month, and payment is due on the 1st of the next month. So I have between 15 and 45 days to pay, depending on when in the month I buy. – Henning Makholm Aug 29 at 17:54
  • @HenningMakholm What relation does the statement cycle have with the billing cycle? Are they the same or different? – Santi514 Aug 29 at 17:57
5

You should be receiving monthly statements for your credit card, either in paper form or electronically via your online banking system. Each statement will have a list of transaction processed in the billing cycle it covers, the total amount you owe, and the payment due date. You can use this information to determine how much you must pay and by when.

Note that the due date indicates when the payment must be received by the issuer of the card. If your credit card is issued by a bank different from the one you use to make the payment, allow at least three working days, or five, to be safe, for the payment to be processed by both the paying bank and the credit card issuer.

Even if you set up automatic payments, you do want to review each statement to ensure there are no fraudulent or unexpected charges. In most cases, if you don't dispute the wrongly charged amount before your next statement, you'll lose the opportunity.


Note that your bank does not guarantee that you receive the statement each month, only that it makes its best effort to send it. Depending on the level of trust you put in the statement delivery method, you may want to also track your credit card charges and the due date separately, as explained in the other answer, or at least contact the bank if you don't receive the statement on the expected day of the month.

  • 1
    Another safeguard is to calculate a number that you're 99% sure will be more than the minimum payment, and set up automatic payments for that amount (this won't avoid interest charges, but it should avoid late payment charges). – Acccumulation Aug 29 at 22:24
  • 2
    @Acccumulation most (all) card web sites allow you to set up automatic payments for the minimum. – RonJohn Aug 30 at 4:02
  • @mustaccio So it's better to have electronic statements rather than paper ones? That way I can quickly see the info quickly and reliably? – Santi514 Aug 30 at 4:46
  • 1
    @RonJohn or, indeed, the full balance. – MadHatter supports Monica Aug 30 at 6:19
  • 1
    @Santi514 yes, that's right. (We were sooo deep in CC debt that I now pay off the card every Sunday night.) – RonJohn Aug 30 at 14:28
5

I want to start of my credit on a good note.

Then don't play the "wait as long as possible" game. Keep it simple and pay it off at the end of the calendar month, no matter when you purchased things.

Regularly log into the card's website to monitor your spending, and keep track of it in a spreadsheet. (I say this as someone who was deep in credit card debt.)

Most importantly, as a "safety net", activate your card's website's "automatic minimum payment" facility for those times when you accidentally forget to pay your bill in full at the end of the month. This way, you'll never miss a payment.

  • 1
    The "safety net" and the tracking my expenses personally are both great ideas. Thank you for them! – Santi514 Aug 30 at 4:47
  • Even better, activate "automatic full payment". – chrylis -on strike- Aug 31 at 17:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.