Credit Information

5 Ways To Prevent Credit Card Late Fees

Paying a credit card late fee is the same as throwing your money away. Late credit card payments can also hurt your credit score. The payment tips and strategies here will show you how to prevent these costly fees.

When credit card companies process credit card payments, every single detail is extremely important. Get even one of these small details wrong and you will have to pay credit card late fees.

The Fair Credit Billing Act requires credit card companies to credit payments the day they are received. However, this law also allows each credit card issuer to set their own specific payment guidelines. If any of these guidelines are not met, the credit card company can take as much as five days to credit the payment.

That means you can get your payment to your credit card company on time and it could become late during that five-day period. The credit card company could legally charge you credit card late fees. So it's in your best interest to follow their payment guidelines carefully. The payment guidelines are usually on the back of your credit card bill.

Here is the five best ways to prevent credit card late fees.

1. Follow Credit Card Payment Guidelines Carefully

This includes everything from a specific payment address to the time of day the payment has to be received to be credited that day. Some companies even require that payments arrive in their preprinted envelope they sent you with your bill. To be safe, always use the preprinted envelope provided by a credit card company.

Include the billing coupon, and write the amount you are paying in the box provided. Make your check legible, don't forget to sign it and double check that the payment amount is correct. Write your credit card account number on your check and send the payment with the proper postage to the payment address requested by the credit card company.

2 Pay The Minimum Payment Immediately

The best way to prevent paying a credit card late fee is to pay your bill as soon as it arrives. Even if you can only make the minimum payment, it's better than paying a late credit card payment. You can always make additional payments later to keep your interest costs down.

3 Change Your Due Date

Most major credit card companies allow you set your own due date by just asking. Set your due date so your credit card bill arrives right after you get paid.

4 Automatic Online Payments

Paying bills online is also another good way to avoid paying a credit card late fee. Most major credit card companies are accepting credit card payments online. Just sign up for the service on the card company's web site. Make sure to choose a payment amount that automatically covers the minimum amount due on your credit card each month. You can always make additional payments later to keep your interest costs down.

5 Make Your Payment By Phone

Most major credit card companies will accept payments by phone. Some of them will charge fees, ranging from $5 to $15 for the service. But credit card late fees cost you much more so it's better to pay the small fee than a late credit card payment fee. Call the toll-free number on the back of your credit card. They will ask you for a check number and the bank routing number, which is printed at the bottom of every check.

If you do get hit with a credit card late fee, try calling the credit card company and ask if they will waive it. Many credit card companies will waive late credit card payment fees as a courtesy to customers with good payment records.

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