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How Long to Keep Credit Card Statements

How Long to Keep Credit Card Statements
Jason Steele
Jason SteeleUpdated October 18, 2022
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If you’re looking to clear clutter from your life, you may wonder how you need to hold onto credit card statements. The answer is at least 60 days, since that’s how long you have to dispute charges. However, if you run your own business (or have a side gig) or make charitable donations, you may want to keep them around for up to six years. Here’s the lowdown on how long to keep paper or digital credit card statements, how to store them, and how to safely ditch them when it’s time.

Why You May Want to Keep Your Credit Card Statements

Reviewing your credit card statements is a good financial habit to get into. This allows you to cross-check purchases listed on your statement with your receipts, make sure any credit card refunds have been credited, and keep an eye out for errors or signs of identity theft or fraud. According to the Fair Credit Billing Act, consumers have up to 60 days to report mistakes or signs of fraud to credit card issuers. However, the sooner you do so, generally the better.But there are reasons why you may want to hold on to your credit card statement for longer than 60 days. Here are a few to consider:
  • Your credit card offers return or extended warranty protection on eligible purchases. Having a copy of the credit card statement can help in these instances to provide as proof of purchase.
  • You’re looking to set up – or stick to – a budget. Saving credit card statements for several months or more can be helpful for reviewing your spending habits and devising a budget. If you already have a budget, scanning your statements can show you how well you're sticking to it. 
  • You use your credit card for expenses you may be able to deduct on your taxes. Holding on to your statements for the entire year can come in handy when you’re filing your taxes. This enables you to comb through your charges to identify business expenses or charitable donations. If you do deduct any of these expenses, it can be a good idea to hold onto the statements for several years in case of a tax audit.
  • You make loan or insurance payments on your card. Keeping statements around can come in handy if you ever need to dispute a late payment and provide proof that you made a loan or insurance payment on time 
Recommended: How Credit Cards Work 

How Long Do You Need to Keep Credit Card Statements?

Ideally, you’ll want to keep credit card statements for at least 60 days, since that’s how long you have, by law, to dispute any charges. However, there are several instances where keeping your credit card statements for longer than 60 days may be important. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind.

For Business Owners

If you do deduct business expenses, it can be wise to have proof of those charges in case you get audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In the event that you do get audited, you will likely need to provide proof for any charges you are writing off. Generally, the IRS will audit returns within three years of filing, but may go back as much as six years. As a result, you may want to hold onto your statements for as long as you hold onto your business tax returns, which is generally up to six years.

For Consumers

As a consumer, it’s wise to keep your credit card statements for at least 60 days, since that is how long you have to report potential errors to your credit card issuerIf you have a credit card that offers extended warranties, however, you may want to keep your credit card statement for that extended amount of time in case you need proof of purchase. This can be especially key for large purchases like TVs. Even if the item comes with a manufacturer’s warranty, your credit card may extend that warranty beyond what’s offered by the manufacturer. 

For Charitable Donations

If you ever use your credit card to make donations to nonprofit organizations, and you claim those donations as a deduction on your personal tax return, it can be a good idea to hold onto your statements for six years. Should your tax return ever get audited, you’ll have documentation to show that you made those donations and exactly who you made them to.Recommended: When Do Credit Card Companies Report to Credit Bureaus? 

Factors That Can Make You Consider Keeping Your Statement Longer

Besides being a consumer, business owner, or charitable donor, there are reasons why anyone would want to keep credit card statements for several months or longer.Having six months to a year of credit card statements at your disposal can come in handy if you ever want to track your spending and get a big picture of where your money is going, and how your spending changes over time. This kind of overview can help you categorize your spending, set up a monthly spending budget, and then track how well you are sticking to that budget.

Storing Your Credit Card Statement

Credit card companies will typically keep your statements in your online account for at least a year. In some cases, you may be able to access your statements going several years back. Nevertheless, it can still be a good idea to print or download your statements, since there is no guarantee of how long your issuer will hold onto your statements and, should you close your account for any reason, you can lose access.Since credit card statements contain personal information, you’ll want to take precautions to ensure that they are not accessed by other people. Viewing your statements online is fairly safe, since these accounts are usually password-protected. If you download electronic copies of your statements, it can be a good idea to password-protect themIf you keep paper copies of your credit card statements, it can be a good idea to keep them in a safe place where others can’t easily access them. A fireproof safe with a lock can provide additional safety and security.Recommended: How Credit Card Frauds Are Caught 

Disposing of Your Credit Card Statements

If it is time to dispose of your old credit card statements, it is important to do so safely, since credit card statements contain personal information. Shredding the statements is the safest option. If you don’t have (and don’t want to buy) a shredder, office supply stores often offer access to shredder for a small fee. You can also shred your statements by hand or with a scissor if necessary. Just be sure to do it in a way that key information (like your account number, name and address) aren’t readable.To dispose of digital statements, you’ll want to permanently delete them from your computer, including from your trash section of your computer.  

Managing Online Statements: What to Know

Many credit card issuers encourage cardholders to opt out of paper statements and only receive electronic statements. Electronic statements save paper and provide extra security for your information due to passwords and secured platforms. Another advantage of online access is that you can readily and easily access your most recent statements (on your computer or even your phone), and check to see that all charges are correct and that returns/credits due to you have been processed. By doing this regularly, you can pick up any signs or fraud or identity theft and report them to your issuer right away. Online statements also provide easy access to past statements whenever needed. 

The Takeaway

Holding on to paper or digital copies of your credit card statement for at least 60 days is sufficient for many people. However, if your card offers extended warranties on purchases, you’ll want to hold onto your statements for however long that offer lasts. Also, if you use your card for business-related expenses, or to make charitable donations, it can be smart to keep them around for up to six years in case of a tax audit.If you’re in the market for a new credit card, Lantern by SoFi can help simplify the process. With our online marketplace, you can shop different types of cards and compare multiple credit card offers all in one place, and without making any type of commitment.
Photo credit: iStock/PeopleImages
This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice. LCCC0922003

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About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and award travel since 2008. One of the nation's leading experts in this field, he has contributed to dozens of personal finance and travel outlets and has been widely quoted in the mainstream media.
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