It happens to all of us eventually—you’re looking at your card statement and there’s a mysterious line purchase you just can’t seem to identify. Maybe it’s a string of numbers; maybe it’s a merchant name you don’t recognize. Never fear—here are some tips on what to do when you see an unfamiliar charge.
Check the date
Putting the transaction in context of your day’s activity can be helpful in jogging your memory. If you recognize the activity around the payment, you may be able to retrace your transactional steps.
Sometimes, a payment may be on hold and post at a later date than the actual date of the transaction. Be sure to consider the activity of a few days before the payment’s posting date when investigating your payment.
Check the descriptor
All charges will have a little string of text along with the name and amount that can provide further context about the charge.
In today’s day and age, with such a wide variety of payment processors and billing solutions, the descriptor may be unfamiliar to you even if you would remember the actual good or service.
Contact the merchant
Some merchants may anticipate an unrecognized charge and include a web address or a phone number in their charge descriptors, and will be more than happy to clarify the charge for you when contacted.
If you recognize the descriptor or the merchant but not the charge itself, you can skip directly ahead to contacting the merchant to confirm what the charge was for.