What Does a Negative Number on a Credit Card Statement Mean?

by Madison Garcia
Credit card companies list amount owed as a positive number and credits as a negative number.

When you read your credit card statement or check up on recent activity, you may see a line item with a negative number, or a number with parenthesis around it. A negative number associated with a transaction indicates a refund or receipt of payment. If you have enough credits and received payments, your credit card statement may have a negative credit balance.

Credit Card Statement Formatting

Credit card companies generally list purchases as positive numbers and refunds as negative numbers. For example, if you purchase a shirt from a retailer for $25, you'll see a line item on your statement for $25. If you return the shirt for a refund, you'll see a negative $25, or $25 in parenthesis. When you make a payment from your checking or savings account to pay off your credit card, the payment will also appear as a negative number.

Negative Balance

You need to make payments only on the amount owed on your credit card statement, which is displayed as a positive number. If you receive enough refunds or make an overpayment on your credit card, you could end up with a negative credit balance at the end of the month. For instance, if you pay $100 to your credit card company when your balance is $75, you'll have a $25 credit balance. That credit will remain on your account until you charge something, at which time that credit will help offset the new purchase, or the card issuer sends you a check to clear the credit off its books.

About the Author

Based in San Diego, Calif., Madison Garcia is a writer specializing in business topics. Garcia received her Master of Science in accountancy from San Diego State University.

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