Checking credit card statements

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tc101
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Checking credit card statements

Post by tc101 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:08 pm

I used to only use a credit card for online purchases, gas, and large purchases. Then I started using it at the grocery store when I realized that was faster and easier than using cash. Recently I have started using it for almost everything. It is truly quicker and easier than paying in cash and getting change.

Now my credit card statement is more complex. I have never found an error or a phony charge, but several times I thought I had found one because I had forgotten the purchase or because it showed up under an unexpected name. The time it took me to figure out my mistake was probably greater than all the time I had saved by not dealing with cash.

How important is it to check your statement line by line? Is there much fraud or phony charges? How closely do check?
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JoeRetire
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by JoeRetire » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:22 pm

tc101 wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:08 pm
How important is it to check your statement line by line? Is there much fraud or phony charges? How closely do check?
I always check all of my statements, looking for anything unexpected.

It's not that hard to do, and might head off some big problems if your information becomes compromised. That only happened to me once so far, but to me it's not hard to do and it's time well spent.

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sport
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by sport » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:23 pm

I use my credit cards for almost everything. The statements have always been exactly correct for years. In the past, I found unauthorized charges. They have been very few and far between. Nevertheless, I keep receipts and verify every charge. If I did not, I would not be comfortable that it was always correct. That's just me.

delamer
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by delamer » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:27 pm

I check ours by downloading all transactions to Quicken once a week. When I say “check,” I look at the payee to make sure I recognize it and the amount to make sure it is reasonable. I don’t actually compare receipts to charges.

I’d guess that we’ve had 2 or 3 fraudulent charges in the last 10 years over 3 cards.

So it is rare, but it happens.

Hopefully, you have a rewards card.

TravelGeek
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:29 pm

In 25 years I have found three fraudulent charges, and they were easy to spot (a $1000 charge from a wedding dress store in a Texas? A $200 charge from an online perfume vendor?). That was years ago, before card companies offered instant notifications (text or email) for charges. I have that enabled now on all cards. My phone usually beeps/vibrates usually before I have put the card back into my wallet. I review the notifications as I find time over the course of the day.

I review my accounts and scan my recent transactions once a week. Unless I am traveling, they tend to be from the same merchants over and over again, and other charges stick out and I generally recall what it was. When I am traveling and have lots of new one-off merchants, perhaps with foreign names, I have to pay more attention.

In earlier years I entered all my credit card charges manually into Quicken and reconciled them with the statement. Way too much hassle now that literally everything is a credit card charge.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:41 pm

I have not found any fraudulent charges by looking at my CC statements. All of those that I have had, I have either been notified by the CC issuer or a specific charge has triggered one of the alerts I have set for my cards.

Several months ago I did see that a tip at a restaurant had been increased--presumably by the server. It wasn't worth my time to deal with the CC about it. I have intended to speak with the restaurant owner about it, but have only returned to that restaurant once since that happened. The owner wasn't there, but neither was the server.

My current practice is only to skim my CC statements. Unless something really jumps out at me there, it isn't worth further scrutiny.

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dodecahedron
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:46 pm

I like checking over my credit card statements because it keeps me in better touch with what I am spending my money on. It is a regular chance to review and reassess my spending priorities.

I don´t recall finding any fraud or errors on my accounts (though my late husband definitely found some on one of his accounts, ultimately traceable to a hotel clerk who had gotten his credit card info during a stay there).

Particularly with things like monthly subscription charges, it is good to periodically reassess whether I want to continue them going forward.

runner3081
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by runner3081 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:28 pm

I check each CC online, in the morning, every weekday.

jeff1949
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by jeff1949 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:39 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:28 pm
I check each CC online, in the morning, every weekday.
Same here.....only takes about a minute.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by livesoft » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:54 pm

I also use my credit card to pay for everything. But I hardly buy anything, so the checking is pretty trivial. If it is taking too much time to check things, then stop buying things is what I suggest.
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Broken Man 1999
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:08 pm

I check my main credit card daily for posted transactions and pending transactions. Sometimes I see an unfamiliar transaction, but it never posts, I assume someone has made an error.

I have alerts set up for my CCs such that a charge of $1 or more will generate an email. There aren't that many emails, so it is very easy to watch out for irregularities.

I trust, but verify.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by whodidntante » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:12 pm

Issuers who have an IT platform not built by an executive's cousin will provide a method of subscribing to transaction notifications.

Afty
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by Afty » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:27 pm

I used to keep every receipt and match them up with my credit card statements. Occasionally I would catch a waiter giving themselves an extra dollar or two tip. Other than that I never found any fraud.

I have stopped keeping receipts and now just do a quick one minute look at my statement to see if it looks reasonable. I think this is the sweet spot in time spent vs. money saved.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by JBTX » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:30 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:12 pm
Issuers who have an IT platform not built by an executive's cousin will provide a method of subscribing to transaction notifications.
:annoyed / executive's cousin

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dm200
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by dm200 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:33 pm

My wife and/or I spot check the statements. I do not recall ever finding an error.

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Stinky
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by Stinky » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:36 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:08 pm
I check my main credit card daily for posted transactions and pending transactions. Sometimes I see an unfamiliar transaction, but it never posts, I assume someone has made an error.

I have alerts set up for my CCs such that a charge of $1 or more will generate an email. There aren't that many emails, so it is very easy to watch out for irregularities.

I trust, but verify.

Broken Man 1999
Same here. Check accounts daily, and get immediate notifications on purchases.

I’ve had about 3 fraudulent transactions in the last 10 years. Airline tickets, somebody’s cable bill, and sexy lingerie. In each case credit card was cancelled. The biggest pain was changing the 20 or so “auto pays” on our main credit card.
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cherijoh
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by cherijoh » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:38 pm

dodecahedron wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:46 pm
I like checking over my credit card statements because it keeps me in better touch with what I am spending my money on. It is a regular chance to review and reassess my spending priorities.

I don´t recall finding any fraud or errors on my accounts (though my late husband definitely found some on one of his accounts, ultimately traceable to a hotel clerk who had gotten his credit card info during a stay there).

Particularly with things like monthly subscription charges, it is good to periodically reassess whether I want to continue them going forward.
I had forgtten a couple of auto renewal charges - like the virus protection software on a computer I had recently replaced.(The new laptop came with its own virus protection subscription). The e-mail notice about the auto-renewal charge had gone to my spam folder.

I've also had double charges rung up for the same purchase - I think algorithms now pick this up, but it definitely happened in the past. I've also disputed hotel charges when I wasn't even in that city and had booked no reservations. Plus various purchases that the cc company called to ask about based on my purchasing patterns.

Years ago my Mom had a charge for $500+ at a Mexican restaurant in CA. She finially figured out that someone had keyed in something wrong and the charge was for a 3-night hotel stay elsewhere in CA.

Trader Joe
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by Trader Joe » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:41 pm

tc101 wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:08 pm
I used to only use a credit card for online purchases, gas, and large purchases. Then I started using it at the grocery store when I realized that was faster and easier than using cash. Recently I have started using it for almost everything. It is truly quicker and easier than paying in cash and getting change.

Now my credit card statement is more complex. I have never found an error or a phony charge, but several times I thought I had found one because I had forgotten the purchase or because it showed up under an unexpected name. The time it took me to figure out my mistake was probably greater than all the time I had saved by not dealing with cash.

How important is it to check your statement line by line? Is there much fraud or phony charges? How closely do check?
I check my monthly statement line by line. It is very important. I travel a lot. I have discovered discrepancies.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by 02nz » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:43 pm

I use Mint and transactions show up almost immediately. That makes it much less likely I forget about something (even if the merchant name is not what I expected). For any card I set up in Apple Pay, I also get a notification on the phone when there's a charge put through, even if it was not through Apple Pay.

Once in a while I have a charge that I don't recognize, but often a quick Google search will turn up the answer. For example recently I had a charge for "Adyen," but with a Google search I was able to match this to my monthly charge for Tidal (a music streaming service).

I do still give the monthly statement a quick scan, but I think this method is much more likely to catch any fraud quickly.

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prudent
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by prudent » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:48 pm

Before it was possible to get a text for every transaction, I checked each statement. Had two issues in maybe 15 years. One was an obvious fraudulent charge for a couple hundred dollars at a store about 100 miles away we had never been to. The other was a charge at a restaurant we DID visit... a year earlier. Now that we get texts, I don't check the statement so intently. A couple months ago a text popped up with a new unrecognized charge, I just replied saying it was fraudulent, they cancelled the card and sent a new one.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by IowaFarmWife » Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:22 pm

I used to check them religiously, but I now have every credit card set up to send me either an email and/or text message every time the card is used, so I am immediately informed if there has been a charge. I also have my CC's connected to MInt, so I can see daily the money that is flowing in and out of my accounts. Since then, I only take a quick glance at the statement to make sure there is not something wonky going on (never has been), and then I pay the bill.
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by mickeyd » Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:48 pm

I have bee using a CC for about 50 years and have taken time to reconcile everyone of them (50x12=600). Most have been 100% accurate. If I stop checking now will my luck continue? You know the answer to that one.
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bob60014
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by bob60014 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:52 pm

Every charge we make we receive a text message indicating activity. Quick and easy and we know immediately if a unauthorized charge is made/attempted.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:55 pm

I suppose it depends on how many transactions per month you have. I probably don't have as many as the average person. I have a spreadsheet that I enter my purchases so I can see how I'm staying within the budget each month.

The spreadsheet totals the transactions. So I only have to check the overall amount against the statement. 99% of the time it matches, so I don't need to bother with the individual transactions because my overall matches the credit card's overall. Only a couple times the numbers have been different. Most times it was my fault (I mistyped a number on my spreadsheet causing my total to be different from the credit card company's). But because I have few transactions each month, it was easy to scroll down and find my mistake). Once a restaurant charged the wrong amount. I called the restaurant and had it corrected. Once or twice there were fraudulent charges after I placed an order online. Either I found the error or my credit card company did and notified me.

It pays to check, but it doesn't have to be difficult.

Use a card like citibank 2% cash back. Then your time/trouble should be worth it, because you're not only saving time at the register, but you're getting paid for everyday purchases.
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by FGal » Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:06 pm

I check my purchases every day practically. I use budgeting software (like Mint or YNAB) and my credit card charges pop in either within the hour of the charge (most of my cards), or at most a day or two (one card is super slow) after.

I can set up name changes in budget software to recognize a regular business that is not named so I'd remember.

I personally do either hold onto reciepts or make note of anything that may not be a regular/straightup charge (like eating out bills where I tipped server) until the charge clears and then toss them. I've had too many servers commit fraud, or restaurants that accidentally overcharged me because the server picked up my bill with half a dozen others and mass rang up all of them and got off by one credit card... resulting in my not expensive dinner for two to balloon into the table for 10 that was throwing a birthday party. :oops:

I don't often bother with the actual credit card statements since my software is an all in one so I can log in and check everything easily in one place. But I ALWAYS check things at minimum 2-3 times a week.
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by HawkeyePierce » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:33 pm

I use You Need A Budget which auto-imports transactions from my credit cards and sends me a push notification once a day to review them.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by Invest4lt » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:49 pm

bob60014 wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:52 pm
Every charge we make we receive a text message indicating activity. Quick and easy and we know immediately if a unauthorized charge is made/attempted.
This. The real time verification via text message makes the monthly review mostly unnecessary.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by yangtui » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:29 pm

I eyeball my statement at the end of the billing cycle; probably spend under one minute per month on it. Considering how much time I would probably spend before I found a mistake I have decided to not go crazy reconciling everything. I have a pretty high materiality level for verifying activity on my CC statements. My free time has value too. As long as my overall bills are around a certain amount I am fine with potentially missing mistakes or small amounts of fraud.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by cbeck » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:14 pm

I do a genuine monthly reconciliation of the CC bill against transactions I have manually entered into Quicken as they occur. (Downloading the bank's transactions into Quicken means that no reconciliation is possible, since it would just be comparing 2 copies of the same, possibly incorrect, data.) I did find a $10k fraud on an Amex card once. But small transactions count too, since I understand that fraudsters will sometimes do small fraudulent transactions to test the card. Takes me maybe 15 minutes per card per month. Doesn't seem onerous to me.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by aspirit » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:53 pm

tc101 wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:08 pm
I used to only use a credit card for online purchases, gas, and large purchases. Then I

How important is it to check your statement line by line? Is there much fraud or phony charges? How closely do check?
I routinely find errors. :moneybag
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by tuningfork » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:45 pm

delamer wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:27 pm
I check ours by downloading all transactions to Quicken once a week. When I say “check,” I look at the payee to make sure I recognize it and the amount to make sure it is reasonable. I don’t actually compare receipts to charges.
Similar here. I download all transactions into Moneydance several times a week. That's frequent enough that I will recognize each transaction and remember the amount, more-or-less. I stopped comparing to actual receipts decades ago, but sometimes still dig out the paper receipt if the amount seems way off from what I remember. Occasionally I don't recognize a transaction right away, but eventually figure it out (i.e. sometimes the payee is different from the actual business name).

I also have alerts setup on all my cards so I get emails whenever transactions are made. Most of the time the alert arrives within a few minutes of making a charge. Fraudulent transactions are usually caught by the CC company, but the rare times they slip through I catch them immediately when an email for an unrecognized charge arrives.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by FrugalInvestor » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:13 pm

We have always saved receipts and checked them against our statements. We've never found an error but continue to verify all charges. We have had a handful of fraudulent charges over the years but they have always been caught by the CC company before we caught them on the statement.
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by mcraepat9 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:30 pm

yangtui wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:29 pm
I eyeball my statement at the end of the billing cycle; probably spend under one minute per month on it. Considering how much time I would probably spend before I found a mistake I have decided to not go crazy reconciling everything. I have a pretty high materiality level for verifying activity on my CC statements. My free time has value too. As long as my overall bills are around a certain amount I am fine with potentially missing mistakes or small amounts of fraud.
+1

This is me. My time has value and once you assign value to your time your diligence in this regard is focused. I don’t check charges under $500 ever. Could something slip through? Surely. But nothing that will make or break me.
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by squirm » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:07 pm

I use credit all the time, I just skim the statements to make sure everything looks good. Very rarely do I find anything. Once wife had double charges but cc already knew about that and extra charge was gone within a day.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:15 pm

I do download and save my credit card statements every month, but I don't scrutinize them. I do look at the accounts online maybe once a week, and if I see anything I don't recognize, I ask my wife if she bought something (which only turns out to be inconvenient near Christmastime :wink: ). Other than that, I have our cards set up with reasonable text triggers set according to normal usage patterns.
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by BostonBoy » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:07 pm

I compare the credit cards slips against the online statements monthly. The only problems that I've uncovered were when tips were incorrect.
They were not in my favor.

dalbright
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by dalbright » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:14 pm

I set my card up to send email notifications for every purchase. I've contacted the CC company before the fraud division even noticed trouble on multiple occasions this way. I also can refresh my email at the establishment to confirm the payment within minutes.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by RickBoglehead » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:18 pm

I cannot imagine not checking statements at least monthly.

I have alerts on all bank accounts and credit cards. Every transaction generates an email. Anything incorrect is handled right away.

This should be done for every elderly relative also.
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by Allan » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:27 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:28 pm
I check each CC online, in the morning, every weekday.
Yep, me too. I have 3 Capital One cards I use, 2 personal and one for my company. Via the app on my iPhone I can easily click to each account and see every charge for the last few days, even the charges for that day I see as "pending". Takes me less than a minute and has become a habit.

In the last few months I had fraud twice, primarily because of skimming at a specific place I bought gas. Caught it immediately and of course reimbursed by credit card company.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:47 pm

FGal wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:06 pm
I check my purchases every day practically. I use budgeting software (like Mint or YNAB) and my credit card charges pop in either within the hour of the charge (most of my cards), or at most a day or two (one card is super slow) after.
What budgeting software do you use?

I use YNAB and it feels like it takes a day or two for purchase to show up.

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dm200
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by dm200 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:54 am

On several occasions over the years, "questionable" transactions on credit and debit cards have been flagged by the card companies. They were, thus, able to intercept fraud and identity theft. :happy

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by BuckyBadger » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:36 am

We charge EVERYTHING we can. I never have cash. One summer I got a refillable soda cup at a gas station. Refills were $0.25. I charged all my refills.

I glance at my charges once or twice a month. Never more than that.

I look for places that I recognize and charges that seem reasonable - nothing more. I don't keep receipts and I don't do anything more than glance at the charges. If there's something big I don't recognize I'll first ask my husband if he bought something. 8 out of 10 times he did. 2 out of 10 times it's something I did buy but I forgot about it or the company name doesn't make sense so I didn't recognize it.

Once in 20+ years of doing this I found a fraudulent charge. (There had been several in the past, but my card company's security always found them before I did and notified me and sent me a new card.) Someone had spent several hundred dollars on a CPAP machine in Texas. I called, they took off the charge, and sent me a new card.

If some restaurant wants to scam me out of a few extra bucks on a tip I really couldn't care less. My time is worth more that that, so I just look for reasonable charges and leave it at that.

For perspective, our credit card bill is between 5 and 6 thousand dollars a month.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by RudyS » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:58 am

Afty wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:27 pm
I used to keep every receipt and match them up with my credit card statements. Occasionally I would catch a waiter giving themselves an extra dollar or two tip. Other than that I never found any fraud.

I have stopped keeping receipts and now just do a quick one minute look at my statement to see if it looks reasonable. I think this is the sweet spot in time spent vs. money saved.
Exactly me! Even to the $1 added tip several years ago. Not worth the effort.

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by BogleMelon » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:18 pm

ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:47 pm
FGal wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:06 pm
I check my purchases every day practically. I use budgeting software (like Mint or YNAB) and my credit card charges pop in either within the hour of the charge (most of my cards), or at most a day or two (one card is super slow) after.
What budgeting software do you use?

I use YNAB and it feels like it takes a day or two for purchase to show up.
No is not. It shows up instantly (Ynab pulls 2 times a day the linked accounts). The catch though is it shows up ONLY after being posted. Pending transactions do not show up in YNAB. Actually, you can not dispute with your CC company a transaction that is still pending anyways. In all cases, you would have to wait till it is posted to dispute it if it is fraudulent.
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Kemosabi
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by Kemosabi » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:48 pm

Always check your statements. The challenge is getting your spouse to do the same, as she (he) may be the one doing most of the purchasing :D

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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by tomd37 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:17 pm

tc101 - I have been using credit cards for more than fifty years now. I used to keep all receipts and verify the monthly statement against those receipts. I charge virtually everything to one of my two main cards. All three of my cards allow me to set a purchase dollar amount ($10 in my case) above which I will receive an email indicating a purchase has been made. In many cases this email alert is received before I get home. I can even track my wife as she moves around the area from store to store. :wink:

That said, I have only had three purchases posted to my account by someone using my credit card number illegally, and in that case the credit card company suspected something was wrong and called me. The three purchases were made in Chicago and I have never been to Chicago. They cancelled the card and sent me a new card via overnight delivery service.

I do look at my accounts online and I look at the monthly statement to ensure I recognize the creditor. Sometimes the names are not easily recognized and a quick call to the card's customer service department resolves any concern.

And finally I do appreciate the $800 or so cash rebate I get each year using the card. In our mid-eighties that rebate does help.
Tom D.

fru-gal
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by fru-gal » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:53 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:28 pm
I check each CC online, in the morning, every weekday.
I probably check nearly that often, no particular time of day. That lets me catch fraud transactions quickly, credit my card with the rewards cash with just a few clicks, enter items in my spreadsheet to see how my spending is going.

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Artful Dodger
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by Artful Dodger » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:14 pm

I check them a couple of times a month. Most fraudulent charges are brought to our attention by the CC company, but I have found a few checking the online account. Then we cancel, and they fedex us a new card, and we hope for the best.

likegarden
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by likegarden » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:09 pm

In the last 3 years : One year a girl in a shirt store during our vacation billed the same $95 twice on my card - I saw her use 2 different registers. My card showed that I bought gas at a gas station I never stop at. Then 2 weeks before Christmas I was supposedly to have bought something for $125 at CVS, I don't remember that too. Yes, we check our credit card statements, someone might start small and then has a big charge.

DetroitRick
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Re: Checking credit card statements

Post by DetroitRick » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:17 pm

I rely on text/app alerts for fraud detection, and daily automatic Quicken downloads as a backstop for that process. 3 errors/fraud attempts in 5 years, probably only 1 before that, but there almost NO time involved for this monitoring. So to me, sure, it's clearly worth that effort. And, we charge virtually everything. I do download statements before making payment too, but at that point only do a very cursory balance check.

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