by Christy Bieber | Feb. 9, 2020
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A missed payment could cost you -- so here's how to be sure you never fall behind.
Missing a credit card payment is a major mistake. Not only could it lead to a hefty late fee and prompt your card issuer to potentially raise your APR, but it could also tank your credit score.
Unfortunately, sometimes life happens and payments get missed either because you forget about them or you just can't afford them. You don't want to find yourself in this situation -- and these four tips will help you make sure to always pay on time.
Sometimes payments are missed because of a simple oversight -- you may forget when they are due and not make them on time. This is especially likely to happen if you're juggling lots of debt.
This is also the easiest problem to avoid. You just need to figure out the best system to remind you to pay. Depending on your situation, that might mean signing up for alerts directly from your creditor; using apps that tell you when a bill is coming due; or simply putting a reminder on your calendar.
Another surefire way to make sure you don't forget is to automate payments. You can set up automatic payments through your card issuer for either the minimum due -- or ideally for your full balance -- to be debited from your bank account automatically a few days before the payment deadline.
While automating your card payment is the best approach because then you can't forget, it's only an option if you are sure you'll always have enough money in your bank account to cover the payment. Otherwise, there's a risk of overdrafting your bank account and getting hit with unwelcome fees.
There are a couple of different ways that changing your payment due date could help make sure you don't ever miss a credit card payment.
If you have multiple cards, you could set all your payments to be due at the same time so you don't have to keep track of different payment schedules. You could also stagger them during the month to make them more affordable, or change your due date to a few days after your paycheck is deposited. That way you'll know you have funds available to cover the bill.
Almost all credit card issuers will let you change your payment due date, although some limit how often you can make changes. You can sometimes request a change from your online account, but you may need to call customer service and speak to a representative.
Be sure to leave ample time to request a change, though, as the new due date may not take effect right away.
There are many benefits to paying by credit card, such as cardholder rewards and increased protection against fraud. But some people miss card payments because they lose track of how much they charge and find they don't have enough cash when the bill arrives. If this sounds like you, you may want to start making payments as and when you charge items.
Card issuers generally let you submit payments at any time. And there's often no limit on the number of payments you're allowed to make each month. This means that each day you charge something, or every few days, you could sign into your credit card account and pay the outstanding balance. If this sounds like too much, how about doing it once a week?
If you do this, your balance should never really grow too large to pay because you'll be making small regular payments all the time. And when you're in the habit of signing in often to pay off what you've charged, there's no risk of missing a required payment. That's because card issuers usually give you close to a month after your statement is issued before your payment is due.
Finally, tracking how much you're spending on your card is another good way to ensure you can afford to pay your bill.
If you write down your credit card transactions or use an app to keep track of them, you'll always know what your current outstanding balance is. You can log into your bank account to make sure you have enough to pay at least the minimum due -- which is usually a small percentage of the total balance.
Your card issuer can explain how your minimum payment is calculated. But ideally, if you track your spending carefully and regularly compare it to what's in your bank account, you can make sure you have enough to pay your bill in full.
By following these tips, you can reduce the likelihood that you'll ever pay your credit card bill late. It's worth the effort because late payments can hurt you in several ways, from late fees to triggering a penalty APR or hitting your credit score.
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