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From the Experts at Credit.com

How To Avoid Credit Card Late Fees

by Lucy Lazarony

How To Avoid Credit Card Late Fees

Paying your credit card account on time every single month is a great way to build up a solid credit history.

Plus, credit card late fees are pricey, up to $25. And it’s smart to avoid them whenever you can.

And if you totally forget about a credit card bill and your payment arrives more than 30 days after the due date, this could lower your credit score significantly, and the negative item will remain on your credit report for seven years.

These tips will show you how to make those card payments like clockwork and avoid paying even a penny in late fees or dinging your credit score.

Automate your payments

Set up automatic payments for your credit card account from your checking account. You may be able to automate the minimum monthly payment, the full amount due or another amount each month. Check with your card issuer for details.

Sign up for email and text reminders

Having trouble remembering when a credit card bill is due? Sign up for email and text alerts from your credit card issuer. You’ll get an email or text when a payment due date is looming. And you can make a quick payment and go about your day.

Pay online

Managing your account and paying your bills online is a fast and convenient way to pay credit card bills. You can pay bills at all hours and track your transactions and spending with ease.

Pay by phone

Get an app and pay your bills by smartphone. Or simply call the customer service number on the back of your credit card and make a payment by phone. Both are quick ways to pay when your due date is approaching.

Move your due date

Is your credit card bill due at a time during the month when you are running low on cash? Move your due date closer to a day when a paycheck arrives. You’ll have plenty of cash to pay your card bill and keep up a perfect payment history.

Curb your spending

It’s simple advice but it can be difficult to follow. If you are worried about having enough money to pay a credit card bill on time, cut back on your credit card and other spending. Put money aside for that bill and keep it separate from your day-to-day spending. Better yet, pay your card bill in advance, as soon as your new statement arrives.

If you’ve made late payments in the past, and you’re concerned about how they’ve affected your credit score, it’s a good idea to check your credit reports and credit scores. By checking your credit reports, you can look for errors (or negative items that are correct) that are dragging down your credit score. From there, you can identify what you need to work on – in this case, making sure your payment history gets back on track. Monitoring your credit scores, which you can do using Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card, can help you follow your progress as you build your credit.



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  • Meet Our Expert

    lucy_lazarony GravatarLucy Lazarony is a freelance personal finance writer. Her articles have been featured on Bankrate, MoneyRates, MSN Money, and The National Endowment for Financial Education. Prior to freelancing, she worked as a staff writer for Bankrate for seven years. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida and spent a summer as an international intern at Richmond, The American International University in London. She lives in South Florida.
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