The urge to reduce clutter and free up storage space could prompt you to get rid of old credit card statements. However, you should have a plan for tracking your financial records before tossing important files. When it is time to remove the statements from your storage, be sure you have a secure method of throwing away the documents to avoid identity theft.
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Credit card statements can help you keep track of your expenditures and prepare monthly budgets. If you have statements that you have never read, then you are not in a position to throw away the information unless you have an electronic backup of the information. Take time to review all credit card statements thoroughly for accuracy and to track your expenses. Keep all statements in sequential order for fast retrieval. If you decide to get rid of statements by year, you can easily find all statements that need to be trashed.
If expenses on your credit card statements are tax-related, keep the documents for up to seven years. "Keep your original receipts until you get your monthly statement; shred the receipts if the two match up," explains Bankrate.com. Most credit cards have a billing cycle of less than 30 days. This means you can get rid of your receipts and statements, excluding tax-related expenses, once per month. If you need a casual reference to a personal credit card transaction, most card issuers have electronic statements available through their websites.
Once a credit card account is closed, verify your transactions and shred your statements. However, in the case of a dispute with a vendor or if you are in the process of developing a personal budget, you may want to retrieve the statements corresponding to your personal projects before tossing, since your online access will no longer be available. It could take weeks to request copies of past statements from the creditor on closed credit card accounts.
Avoid throwing a credit card statement into the waste bin. Use a document shredder to ensure your information is adequately protected once it reaches a public trash facility. Identity thieves sometimes use the method of "dumpster diving" to obtain personal data on their victims. If you have no shredder available, you can use a black permanent marker to strike through your name and account number on all pages of your credit card statement. Using a permanent marker to mark up all your statements is a time-consuming process, but saves you the cost of buying a new shredder.
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