Your credit card statement: Which balance should you pay?

Your monthly credit card statement lists your monthly balance and your minimum payment due. If your bank or credit card company allows you to manage your account online or via app, then you can also access your current balance. Which of these balances should you pay?First, a few definitions.

  • Monthly balance. Sometimes also referred to as statement balance or new balance. This is the total amount you owe in a given month. It is accurate as of your statement date, and it is due by your due date.

  • Minimum payment due. This is a fraction of your monthly balance. You are not required to pay your entire monthly balance, but you are required to pay this minimum amount by your due date. Otherwise, you’ll likely face penalties. To learn more about these penalties, read Late payments and fees: What you need to know.

  • Current balance. Your current balance is what it sounds like: your balance right now, not just on the day your monthly statement is prepared. To learn your real-time balance, contact your credit card’s customer service team. Many credit cards also allow you to access this information online or via app.

Now that you know what the different balances are, which one should you pay?

It depends on your goal.

  • Want to avoid late fees or penalties, and negative reporting to credit bureaus that may harm your credit score? Pay the minimum payment due, and pay it by your due date.

  • Want to avoid accumulating credit card debt? Pay your monthly balance every month, and pay it by your due date. This choice will also help you avoid late fees and penalties.

But what if you want to do more? What if you also want to build excellent credit as efficiently as possible?   

  • Want to build excellent credit efficiently? Pay your credit card balance more than once a month. This means checking your current balance and making at least one other payment besides the one you make on your due date.

This may sound like extra hassle, but if building excellent credit efficiently is your priority, it’s worth the trouble. If you’re a Jasper customer, you can also set up autopay to handle it for you. Jasper has several unique autopay settings so you can choose one that matches your credit goal, whatever it may be: avoid late fees; clear out your entire balance once a month on your due date; or build excellent credit as efficiently as possible. To explore Jasper’s unique autopay options, log in to the app and tap Payments.

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