What Is a Credit Card Billing Cycle?

Credit Card Billing Cycles Explained in Less Than 4 Minutes

how a credit card billing cycle works
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The Balance / Shideh Ghandeharizadeh

Definition

A credit card billing cycle is the period of time between billing statements. The length of a billing cycle varies by card issuer, but is typically about one month.

Definition and Example of a Credit Card Billing Cycle

The billing cycle for a credit card is the time between billings. At the end of the billing cycle, your statement is compiled by your credit card issuer, and you have until your due date to make a payment on your credit card. Credit card billing cycles vary and usually range from 28 to 31 days, depending on the credit card and the issuer.

For example, if you have a credit card and it has a 28-day billing cycle, you can expect to be billed for any unpaid charges or fees that occur in those 28 days.

How a Credit Card Billing Cycle Works

Although credit card billing cycles vary by card issuer, they do have to be consistent, according to federal law. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the days in your billing cycle can't vary more than four days from the regular day or the date of your statement. For example, a billing cycle may start on the first day of the month and end on the last day of the month, or it may go from the first Wednesday of one month to the first Wednesday of the next.

During your billing cycle, any purchases, credits, fees, and finance charges are posted to your account and added or subtracted from your balance. At the end of the billing cycle, you are billed for all unpaid charges and fees made during the billing cycle. Any activity on your account after the billing cycle ends will appear on your next billing statement.

Check your most recent credit card statement or your online account to find your credit card billing cycle. If you need to calculate the number of days in your billing cycle, count the number of days between the beginning and the end of your last billing cycle.

Note

Checking your online account between billing statements can keep you aware of your available credit and allow you to catch any unauthorized charges.

Payment Due Dates

Your credit card payment due date is generally about 21 to 25 days after your billing cycle ends. The time between your billing cycle end date and your billing due date is known as the "grace period." You typically can pay your balance in full before the end of the grace period to avoid paying interest on your balance. You may not receive a grace period if you didn't pay your balance in full after your last billing cycle or if you've transferred a balance or taken out a cash advance.

Note

By law, your credit card due date must fall on the same date every month and does not have an impact on the start and end date of your billing cycle.

Your credit card account will be reported to at least one of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. Your credit report includes an overview of your account and details about how you manage your credit card, including your payment history, credit limit, and monthly payment.

Your credit card issuer will update your credit report at the end of the billing cycle, which is also your account statement closing date. Your account standing on the last day of your billing cycle is how it will be reported to the credit bureaus.

If you want your credit report to quickly show that you have a zero balance on your credit card, pay it off before the last day of your billing cycle. Otherwise, it will take another cycle for a zero balance to show up on your credit report, assuming you don't charge anything else to your card.

Key Takeaways

  • A credit card billing cycle is the period of time between billing statements.
  • Credit card billing cycles typically range from 28 to 31 days. 
  • Federal law requires your credit card billing cycles to be consistent, and your due date must remain the same from month to month. 
  • Your card issuer reports your credit card balance and other information at the end of your billing cycle. 
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Sources
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Experian. "Should I Pay My Credit Card Bill Early?" Accessed Dec. 12, 2021.

  2. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Definitions and Rules of Construction." Accessed Dec. 12, 2021.

  3. Federal Trade Commission. "Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009." Page 10. Accessed Dec. 12, 2021.

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