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I have recently found, with increasing frequency, online banks sending me messages via e-mail or Web notifications after login that a new statement was available for my account [credit card or deposit, doesn't matter], usually in the neighborhood of a "Download Statements" link or similar. When I click the link, I see that there is in fact no statement available. When this happens and it's only been a few days since the statement date, sometimes the explanation is that it just hasn't been posted yet, please be patient. When it's been weeks or months, it's a little more concerning.

One very large credit card company said it was against their policy to issue statements showing that a balance had been paid off, unless there were also new charges being added to the account. That bank asserted that they were not required to issue statements at all, and the whole exercise of issuing statements was merely a courtesy, so any failure to issue statements is clearly not an issue at all.

Is this true? Are there really no requirements for banks to issue statements, even when accounts have had payment activity, and the issuer claims that a statement was generated? If there are any requirements, where are they / where do they come from?

The accounts in question are US accounts, and the US is the intended scope of the question, but feel free to answer for other jurisdictions and note that in the answer.

  • I've seen banks stop issuing statements when there's no activity, but "activity" includes payments. Are you saying that this bank doesn't issue a CC statement if the only activity is a payment? – RonJohn Mar 11 '18 at 5:24
  • This may well be a legal question... "if you don't owe any money, is there a law that says they have to still send statements"? That's an issue between the law and your cardholder agreement. – user71659 Mar 11 '18 at 8:08
  • @RonJohn In the credit card example, yes: it is against the bank's policy to issue a statement if the only activity is a payment. Further, that activity can't even be seen online because the transactions are grouped by statement and "since last statement" is since the date when the interface claims a statement was generated but it wasn't (due to policy), while the prior option in the list is the last statement actually generated (the last one showing charges and a nonzero balance). – WBT Mar 11 '18 at 13:54
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    Two comments: #1 Wow, that bank stinks. #2 I've never heard of that before. – RonJohn Mar 11 '18 at 15:27
  • @RonJohn Some reports say that the credit card issuer (bank) prompting this question is the largest in the US issuer (by total card debt, account count, etc.). It's at least in the top 5 on all the reports/rankings I've found. You might have a card from this bank. – WBT Mar 11 '18 at 17:41
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I've had credit cards where the bank does not send me a statement if the initial balance was zero and there were no transactions. Because it that case the statement would be blank except for the boilerplate: beginning balance: $0, transactions: none, ending balance: $0.

If you bank doesn't mail you a statement or make a statement available on line when there has been ANY sort of activity -- new transactions, payments, interest accrued -- I don't know if there's a law against that, but who cares? Find another bank. Even if there is a law, which is easier? Filing a complaint with an appropriate government agency and going through a whole bunch of bureaucracy, maybe having to attend court hearings, even hire a lawyer? Or just withdrawing your money and going to the bank across the street?

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    Which is easier? I'm not sure it matters for this question which seeks information about that surprising claim that any statements are merely a courtesy and not required. Also, for at least one of the accounts prompting the question (which had credits, probably charges debiting from the balance, and an e-mail alert falsely claiming that a statement was available), I'm locked in by other factors and moving "across the street" would actually be quite costly. Thanks for posting an answer! – WBT Mar 12 '18 at 2:04
  • Also, individual CFPB/FTC reports usually don't prompt any enforcement and don't require lawyers or court appearances. There's no economic case for any individual to hire an attorney, which is how the banks get away with violating laws that harm large numbers of people each a little bit. I'm still curious to know the information asked about in the question, though. (And on rare occasions, a bank manager can be persuaded by a law even when they're sure that no such law exists; persuading the right manager to make this change in code could impact many millions of people). – WBT Mar 12 '18 at 2:10

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