Scrambling to Pay Credit Card Bills at the Last Minute? Try This

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  • Many credit card companies allow you to change your credit card due date.
  • Perks include greater flexibility and simplified payments.
  • Automatic payments cover cardholders who forget to make minimum payments.

The bill arrives. Your payment is due. But your paycheck hasn't come in, leaving you to squeeze in a minimum payment and hopefully pay off the 30% interest fee next credit cycle. Argh!

Whatever is causing you to do the credit card cha-cha, consider this quick fix: Adjust your credit card due date to match your payday schedule. It's easy and may help you keep up with bills by staggering or simplifying your monthly payments.

Here's how to change your payment due date, and the perks of doing so.

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How to change your payment date

Call your credit card company. You can typically find the number on the back of your card. A customer representative will pick up, and you can ask them to move the due date. Whether they approve your request may be affected by the following:

  • Your credit history
  • Your desired due date
  • Your credit card company's policy

Credit card companies are most likely to approve your request if you have a history of paying bills, if you request to move your due date to a weekday, and if the company's policy allows it. Some companies straight up disallow this. It only costs five minutes or so to check.

You may be able to adjust your payment date through your card issuer's mobile app. For example, in the Discover app, you tap the "Payments" icon, scroll down, and click "Change Payment Due Date." In the Chase app, you scroll down, tap "Manage Account," and then "Request a new due date." 

It's pretty straightforward. However, some companies (like Chase) may not apply the change until your next billing cycle. In this case, a payment date change may not help you pay whatever you have due right now.

Perks of changing your credit card due date

There are two reasons to change when your bills are due: flexibility and simplicity. 

Flexibility: Say you use a grocery credit card to pay for groceries and a cash back card for everything else. Both are due on the 15th. Change the due date of your grocery credit card to the 30th. Staggering dates allows you to spread out payments, which gives you greater flexibility with your money.

Simplicity: Say you have three credit cards, and each is due on a different date. Simplify payments by changing all due dates to the 30th, making tracking deadlines easy.

Generally speaking, staggering payments benefits cardholders who get paid multiple times per month. Combining deadlines benefits cardholders who only get paid once per month. 

I stagger payments on the 15th, the 26th, and the 30th. I've found that this strategy helps me make timely payments. I get paid four times monthly, and I'm tempted to spend any money I don't immediately put toward credit card payments on books, food, and nonessentials. 

The temptation to spend money just sitting in your checking account can be a real problem for some folks, myself included. Know thyself, and all that. 

Other credit card payment strategies

Everyone can benefit from adjusting credit card due dates so they immediately follow paydays. It makes tracking payments simple. For example, if you get paid on the 30th, consider changing your credit card due date to the 1st (or the 3rd, just in case you get paid a little late).

Cardholders can benefit from automatic payments. Forget to pay a bill? No problem. I have my credit account set up to withdraw monthly minimum payments from my checking account, just in case it slips my mind (it's happened before).

You can typically set up automatic payments from your mobile app. Consider setting it up to pay monthly minimum payments, since missing a payment can tank your credit score.

Most financial experts recommend paying monthly bills in full whenever possible. That way, you don't rack up credit card interest. The best credit card companies allow cardholders to adjust due dates to meet their financial needs.

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