Current Balance versus Outstanding Balance

When you call to know what your balance is, you have to clarify what type of balance you are asking about. Typically, the credit card customer service representative is going to quote you your current balance – also known as the statement balance. What if you wanted to know your outstanding balance, though?

Current Balance – The current balance or the statement balance is the balance for your current billing cycle. If your billing cycle starts on the 1st of every month and ends at the 30th of the month, then the current balance is the sum of all the charges you have made on the card from the 1st of the month to the 30th of the same month, plus any pertinent finance charges for the month (if that has already been computed, that is.)

Outstanding Balance - The outstanding balance is the sum of all the balances on the card not only for the current billing cycle but for all time. This is the sum of your current statement balance plus any other balance you have not yet paid from previous billing cycles. In other words, if your last statement had a balance of $450, and you paid only $100 for that cycle, then you have a remaining balance of $350. Add that remaining balance to your current balance so far – say, $200 – and your total outstanding balance is $550.

So the next time you ask for your credit card balance, be sure to clarify which type of balance you are asking for. Learn more about the different types of credit card balances by reading the post on, well, “Types of Credit Card Balance.”

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