How to Lessen the Impact of a Late Credit Card Payment
It happens to even the most financially responsible consumers. You have every intention of paying your credit card bill on time, but for one reason or another it slips your mind. Soon enough, you realize that you missed the due date and could be in trouble.
Here are some steps you can take to lessen the impact of a late credit card payment:
- Pay the Bill
It doesn’t matter if you make the minimum payment or clear the entire balance, do so as quickly as possible. The second you realize you’re late is the second you should make payment. You can do so online or via phone, just make sure you take action.
Here’s why you want to move quickly: your credit card issuer will not report the payment as late until a full billing cycle has passed, which is typically 30 days.
- Ask Your Credit Card Issuer to Remove the Fee
Even if your payment is a day late, your credit card issuer is likely to charge a late fee. This is typically in the $25 to $35 range, however, you can find the exact amount in the terms and conditions of your card.
Rather than pay the late fee and move on, call your issuer to ask if they’ll remove it for you.
If you’ve never asked in the past, there’s a good chance they’ll comply. The same holds true if you’re a long standing customer with a history of making on-time payments.
It never hurts to ask, so pick up the phone and see what happens.
- Protect Against Future Trouble
Now that you realize you’re not immune to making a late payment, you want to protect against doing so again in the future.
For example, use the auto-pay feature to pay the minimum payment in advance of the due date. If you decide you want to pay more, such as the entire balance, you can always do so as time allows.
A late credit card payment isn’t the end of the world, but you don’t want to get into the habit of missing the due date. If you do, it’ll soon come back to haunt you in the form of a red mark on your credit report.
Do you have any other tips for dealing with a late credit card payment? How do you prevent this mistake?