You have a budget. You’re organized. And you always try to pay on time—but mistakes can happen to anyone. Regardless of why you might miss your payment due date, one thing’s for sure—a late payment fee is never a welcome addition to your credit card bill.
First, understand what it is
A late payment fee is a penalty charged by your credit card company for not paying your bill on time. The good news is this fee is avoidable if you manage your account correctly. Remember these tips if you want to avoid a late payment fee and keep your credit in good shape.
Know your dates
Pay just one day late and you’ll have to pay a fee, even if it’s your first offense. In fact, the later the payment, the worse the effect on your credit, so know your due dates and stick to them.
Use your tools
Schedule payments in advance, set up automatic payments or set a reminder on your phone to help avoid missing due dates and the late payment fees that go with them. Your credit card company may offer some of these tools to help you pay on time—helpful if you’re out of town or for the rare occasion when it may slip your mind.
Watch the clock
Timing is so important when paying your bills. If your payment is not received on the day it’s due or posted online by a certain time of day, it may be considered late. So, be mindful of the clock when clicking “submit” or popping that envelope in the mail.
Keep your credit in good standing
Your payment history weighs heavily on your FICO score and there are different categories of late payments depending on exactly how late they’re made, so keep track of due dates and always pay on time.
There’s no exception to the rule—you have to pay your credit card bills on time. Something to think about, especially if you want to improve your credit.