One household alone can have a dozen or more bills that come in each month. Each bill has a different due date that must be followed or else a penalty occurs. These charges can be more than $25 for each occurrence, and the tardiness is quickly recorded on your credit history.
We all know that being late on a credit card payment or loan payment can really affect you financially. Once you are charged a late fee you realize that you would have saved a lot of money if the bill had been paid on time.
Luckily, there are ways to avoid late fees and make sure that you pay on time every time. These tips will help you manage your finances and help you plan accordingly so that you never have to pay another late fee again.
Proper Planning –
Planning to pay your bank fees and credit card bills a week in advance is a foolproof way of avoiding late fees. Whether you are sending a payment online or via snail mail, a week is more than enough time. Set a reminder on your Smartphone and get it done as soon as possible. You can always write down the dues dates on a calendar or daily planner when you receive the credit card statement.
Set up Automatic Payments –
An easy way to always pay a credit card on time is by setting up automatic payments. Pick a date and time that the funds will be pulled out of a checking account. This payment system can be perpetual or set up for only a few months. Be careful about specifying an amount. Most consumers want to pay off the full balance of their credit cards, but this may not be possible each month. Ideally, set a maximum amount that can be drafted from a checking account. There won’t be any surprises with a set amount on an automatic draft.
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Automatic payments are your best friend when it comes to avoiding late fees. Just be sure that the account being used to pay your bill has enough funds to cover the amount due. You don’t want to end up with an insufficient funds fee from your bank and then a late payment from the credit card company.
Plan a Monthly “Meeting with the Bills” –
Some consumers aren’t comfortable with an automatic payment system and that’s okay. As an alternative, they should set aside some time each month to pay the bills. They can survey the bill, determine the right drafting date, and avoid any fees. This “meeting with the bills” will require diligence on the part of the consumer.
Skipping a bill-paying session because you’re just too busy can result in fees added to each late credit card account. To simplify the situation, try to schedule a bill session right after the first payday of the month. With money in the bank, consumers can pay off the bills with confidence.
Adjust Payment Due Dates –
When consumers notice that they’re consistently late with one credit card bill, take a look at the factors surrounding that occurrence. If payday is always several days after the due date, it makes sense that the card isn’t paid off on time. Consumers can work with the creditor in order to change the due date. This request isn’t unusual, and it’s offered to almost every customer. The credit card companies want consumers to have an easy time with bills so that the payments are always on time. If a creditor won’t change the date, it may be time to find a new card provider.
Anyone is likely to forget a bank or credit card fee that has to be paid at the middle of the month. By changing the payment date to the first of the month or your payday, you will remember to pay your bills that day. The end of the month may not be wise because your funds could be low and you may not have enough left over to pay all the bills.
Take Advantage of Alerts –
Some consumers are more organized than others. It’s easy to get distracted with work, home life, and other day-to-day responsibilities. Because the world is largely connected by the Internet today, consumers should set up alerts to remind them about due dates. These alerts can be emailed or texted to consumers a few days before the due date. Another alert might be sent out afterward if the first one doesn’t prompt the consumer to log into his or her account. As an alternative, consumers might set up their own alerts on their phones so that a bill is never forgotten.
Several credit card companies and banks send alerts via email, voicemail, or text monthly to remind their customers about upcoming due dates. The banks and credit card companies want to be paid on time so several offer reminder alerts. Sign up for these alerts whenever possible. It’s just a nice reminder when we all get busy with our lives.
Be Diligent about Mailed Payments –
It’s still possible to mail in a payment, but consumers must be careful about postage, travel times, and possible delays. Ideally, mail the bill about a week before it’s due. Read the credit card’s fine print about mailed payments. Some credit providers base the payment receipt date on the postage date stamp, or they might require physical receipt of the payment as the proper date. Follow these rules because any charges based on them will apply in the future. As an alternative, try to take advantage of online payments to simplify the process.
Always communicate with the creditor if an issue arises surrounding a late fee, such as an unjustified charge. Holidays and outright mistakes can occur, which automatically penalizes the consumer with a charge. By contacting the creditor and discussing the situation, consumers can reverse many charges. Simply be courteous and forthright, and the creditor should respond in kind.
These tips to avoid late fees will help you do just that. All you have to do is be responsible with your finances, plan ahead, and utilize services such as automatic payments and payment alerts. Finding what works for you will ensure that you pay on time and steer clear of those dreaded late fees.
If you’ve been caught up in the cycle of late fees, penalties, and debt, then give Advantage CCS a call and ask how we might be able to help. Our certified credit counselors have a lot of experience dealing with financial hardships and can assist you in becoming debt-free. Give us a call at 1-866-699-2227 or visit www.advantageccs.org and find out what we can do for you. You can even start and finish our free credit counseling session online from the comfort of your home: https://www.advantageccs.org/services/credit-counseling