How many times do you carefully look through every transaction and charge on your credit card statements? Not many times for sure. And to top it, the statements are getting lengthier every year with the increasing usage of the credit cards, even for smallest of daily transactions. In fact, a recent report estimated that the credit and debit card transactions have almost doubled from 2003 to 2009.
In such a scenario, where the time on our hands is decreasing and the number of line items on the credit card statement is increasing, it comes as no surprise that many of us may be failing to take notice of the fraudulent charges or incorrect fees on our monthly credit card bills.
The credit card statements besides being lengthy have no transaction classifications and with our limited human ability to process long lists, spotting erroneous or fraudulent charges becomes a daunting task.
When you look down a long list of charges in your statement, you usually process it in two to three ways. Firstly, you try to look for familiar merchant names and entries, and if they seem to be in place, you usually concur that they will be ok. In this case, if your credit card is stolen and used at the same merchants, you might just fail to distinguish the fraudulent charges. Next, you try to look at the numbers and notice only the big ones, while the smaller ones slip under your radar.
Besides this, you also try to invoke you recent memories to identify if you remember making the purchases mentioned; but the limitation to this is that pausing and thinking through each entry is something we often don’t consider our time’s worth. Again the laxity could cost you money that you don’t even owe.
Similarly, when it comes to fees and other credit card charges, we never try and separate them from the long list and closely evaluate to see if they are correct. Because of this, you often times fail to spot the discrepancies and get overcharged.
The only way to prevent the fraudulent and incorrect charges from missing your notice is to exercise diligence. Take some time out your busy schedule and make it a point to go through every transaction carefully. Look through all same amount transactions and check them for any duplicate charges. It is needless to say that the bigger amounts always warrant more careful consideration. Besides this, always make sure to mark out the credit card fees and charges and evaluate them carefully together. This continual diligence will go a long way in ensuring that you never pay your credit card company more money than you actually owe.