Credit card late fees are a fact of life for some consumers, but they don’t have to be for you. Legally, credit card companies can hit you with pretty much whatever fees they want. On the other hand, you don’t have to pay them, but only if you avoid them in the first place. Here are four sure fire ways you can avoid costly credit card late fees:
1 – Pay Before the Due Date. Of course, this makes the most sense. However, this is also the single most important reason why people get shocked with fees: they receive their bill and immediately forget about it! When you get your bill, open it up and pay it promptly. Waiting means forgetting and forgetting about your credit card bill will cost you money.
2 – Pay on the Internet. If you have access to a computer, then paying online is the best way to make certain that your payment gets to your credit card provider on time. Be careful, as there is still some lag time from when you authorize funds to be released from your checking account and when that payment is finally credited to your credit card account. The gap between the two can be as long as one week!
3 – Schedule Automatic Payments. Some credit card providers allow you to set up a scheduled deduction from your checking account which is then automatically sent to your credit card provider. You should set it up to take money out of your account well before the due date to ensure that your funds are received on time. You can always send in a separate, extra payment if you want to pay down your debt faster too.
4 – Question a Late Payment. Even if the credit card company claims that your payment was late, it doesn’t mean that you must be charged a late fee. Contact the company and ask them to reverse their charge which usually runs between $29 and $39 — and to expunge their records of your tardiness. You not only want to avoid any fees, you want to avoid their possible notification of your lateness to the three major credit report agencies [Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax]. Any information supplied to the credit reporting agencies can work against you in the form of higher interest rates on current cards as well as on future loans!
Taking the appropriate action can help you to avoid late fees and allow for you to keep more of your money in your pocket. Become better informed and start saving money today!
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