There are few things that are as frustrating as opening up a credit card statement and finding that you have been charged a late fee, or even a higher interest rate. But when this happens it isn’t a time for regret, it’s a time for action. Here are five steps that you can take to make sure that it never happens to you again:
1. Ask to have your late fees waived.
The first thing that you need to do when you find a late fee is to make sure that you have paid the bill. Then, contact the card company and ask to have the fee waived. If you have never had a late payment, or haven’t had one in some time, then most banks and credit unions will remove those charges in the interest of customer satisfaction.
Just be sure not to rely on this method to get out of late fees, as it will not work all of the time.
2. Set up payment reminders.
Most credit card issuers have a system that allows customers to set up automatic reminders when a payment is due. You can get these reminders as text or email alerts days before your payment is due.
You can also use your own online calendar to set separate reminders as a backup.
3. Pay electronically from your bank or credit union.
One way that late payments can happen is when you send a check through the mail. Since these can be lost or delayed, the most reliable method is to make electronic payments directly from your checking account.
4. Configure automatic payments.
In many cases, your card issuer will offer a system that automatically makes a payment from your bank account to your credit card every month. You can set up these systems to pay the entire statement balance, the minimum payment, or any amount in between.
5. Consider a credit card that has on late payment fees or penalty interest rates.
If you want to make sure that you never pay late fees again, you can always choose to use a card that doesn’t charge any. The Citi Simplicity and the PenFed Promise do not charge any late fees or penalty interest rates.
In addition, the Discover it card will automatically waive cardholder’s first late fee, and has no penalty interest rates.