Here are 6 ways to avoid credit card Late fees.
While I was recently investigating automatic-withdrawal credit card and banking scams, speaking with a Consumer Protection Representative, we discussed basic credit card fundamentals an how to avoid late fees or being charged higher interest rates. I thought I would pass this along as it is simply good information.
“These are the principles that seem to be most-used by those successful in avoiding late fees and higher interest placed on their credit cards as penalties,” said Joyce Patten, Federal Consumer Protection Agent.
Joyce continues, “Credit card companies today are not nice when it comes to late payments, since it is an extremely profitable part of their business to charge fees. As well, too often one late payment and your interest rates will skyrocket to a percentage not of your choosing.”
If you do miss a payment sometimes a person you speak with over the telephone, their representative, will cancel the late fees and other negative situations, but it is purely up to their discretion. Not placing yourself in that situation is the best, as there is too much at stake to ignore.
Here are 6 ways to avoid late fees:
1. A notebook, your phone-alert system, or a calendar is good to have around to remind you when your credit card payment is due. Noting when the payment due, when paid, and how paid is a good reference.
2. Making your payment over the Internet and making each payment from your bank account is perhaps the easiest. This also gives you a reference when it was paid. Mail is okay, but not always consistent, and certainly not a primary source to use. Always mail 7 to 12 days before the due date, keeping track of when mailed and note on your statement when the previous mailed-in payment was made.
3. Changing your payment date to a time after your payday just makes good sense. Sitting down and taking care of all your bills at the same time is also recommended, as it is easy to forget a single invoice, compared to the noted responsibility of paying all the bills on the same date.
4. This is a little sticky, but certainly common sense dictates here to transfer all of your credit cards to the lowest interest card, and then make one payment a month. There are simply fewer chances for a mistake, and mistakes become costly.
5. Know what the fine print says, on the credit card agreement or your monthly statement; especially, about how they credit your account with the payment. Knowing the cut-off point or time of day they receive your payment helps as well. Make the payment on or before the due date. If you make the payment on the due date, make sure you pay before the time-due or cutoff time on the payment date.
6. Do not pay by telephone unless absolutely necessary. This can become quite costly and cut-off times for payments do exist. Sometimes the pay by phone fee is waived, keep in mind this is how they make their money and certainly the courtesy inconsistent at best.
“Consumer Protection laws are just now getting up to speed in regard to public awareness combined with protection. Most often it is simply a matter of using one’s common sense, and remaining consistent, which means month to month, in making your credit card payments,” Joyce said.