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Time for a better credit card statement


Credit Card Statements are difficult to understand, even for pros. Let's face it - who is this guy Confused.Inc who charged me $31.75; why I got only 2000 cashback this month - I thought it was 5% cashback month; when will I get the 10% extra bonus points they advertised - there are so much confusion! All these confusion leads to huge amount of time spent on false chargebacks, customer care calls and ultimately bad customer experience.


I feel there is a strong business case for improving the clarity of Credit Card billing and statementing - it should be as much user-friendly and self-explanatory as possible. Here is my wishlist -


1.    In charge line items mention all possible names/details of the merchant. Example - 'Confused.Inc'(Business name) is also knows as 'Happy Consulting Services' which sells 'consulting services for confused executives'. So if I can see the name which I know or the service they sell- I will never call customer support or initiate a false chargeback request. We should also mention the location and billing contact details of the merchant.

2.    Provide the Transaction Date (when the charge was authorized) and Posting Date. Sometimes charges are seen in statements a day or so after the actual transaction date which creates confusion.

3.    I want to see how my cashback and reward points were calculated. Not Just for this $100 you got 2 points we should mention the rate of reward calculation, if bonus rewards special rate applied for special category of spent (like Travel & Restaurants 5%), if the bonus rewards will be credited later by what date this will happen etc. More the explanation, less the chance for follow-up customer calls.

4.    Explain any Finance Charges in full detail - how the over limit fee was calculated, how the interest was calculated etc.

5.    If the card has Supp/Add-on cards provide separate sections for each of those cards so it is much clear who spent what.

6.    If there is any offer - specifically mention all the conditions to get the offer - it is much better than *conditions apply.

7.    Provide a summary of my card benefits (or at least provide the link) - mention special offers linked to my card.


I can go on and on - but this is a good start. When implementing the changes we need to consider the designing of the statement in an effective way so that it does not become overwhelming (one idea can be interactive statement with hyperlinks or for physical statements newspaper style design where summary takes the front page and the details are mentioned in subsequent pages). These changes need coordinated effort from all stakeholders of the Payments value-chain and I am hopeful the industry will appreciate the business case of this improvement one day.

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