This 1 Move Could Make Your Credit Card Payments Easier to Manage

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on March 28, 2021

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A woman in a cafe sitting at a table with her laptop and holding a credit card.

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Here's a simple way to avoid having to carry a credit card balance.

Many of us use credit cards regularly, whether to cover basics like food and fuel or for unplanned expenses like car or home repairs. But sometimes, it's possible to run into a scenario where you can't quite pay off your credit card in full by the time your bill comes due.

Thankfully, you don't have to. The good thing about credit cards is that if you can't pay your full balance by its due date, you can make your minimum payment and pay off the rest later. As long as you come up with that minimum payment on time, you won't be reported as delinquent on your bill to the credit bureaus that determine your credit score.

Of course, the downside of only making your minimum payment and not paying your full balance right away is that you'll begin to accrue interest on the amount you carry over. And that interest will continue to accumulate until your balance is paid in full. As such, carrying a balance for even a few weeks could cost you money. If you'd rather avoid that fate, here's an easy way to go about it.

Make your billing cycles work for you

You're no doubt aware that your credit card payments are due once a month. But sometimes, the dates those payments are due are arbitrary. Your credit card issuer might assign your account a monthly due date based on the timing of your application, but if that due date doesn't align well with your pay cycle at work, it could put you at risk of having to carry a balance more frequently.

The solution? Ask your credit card issuer to switch the monthly due date on your credit card bills so that you're able to pay after collecting your paycheck.

Imagine you get paid on the last day of the month, only your credit card bill is due every month on the 25th. If you were to get that due date moved to the first of the following month, it would mean getting to cover that bill with an extra paycheck in your bank account. And that could spell the difference between having to carry a balance or not.

Now to be clear, carrying a credit card balance for a few days isn't the most terrible thing. And in many cases, if you pay your balance as soon as your next paycheck clears, the amount of money you'll lose to interest charges will be minimal. But still, why pay any interest at all -- and why stress the timing of your bills -- when a quick call to your credit card issuer could result in a more convenient payment date for you?

Incidentally, moving your credit card's payment due date could also help you avoid situations where you're late with your payments because you forget about them. If your card's payments are due on the 25th, you may not remember to make them if that's your only bill due at that time. But if you have several bills due on the first of the month, you'll be less likely to accidentally skip a credit card payment.

Though you might think that credit card issuers call all of the shots with regard to your account, in some cases, they can be pretty flexible. It pays to move your credit card's payment due date if doing so makes your bills easier to manage because paying absolutely no credit card interest is far better than paying even a little.

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