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Credit Card due date redux

Got my latest bill for the card I use regularly. It came on Monday, Nov 26 and is due on Monday, Dec 3. First, during this time of year I don’t know if the six days (I could only get a check out next day, as I get my mail after I get home from work) would be enough time to get the check received and credited on time.
I jumped onto my bank’s online system and saw that even though they pay these electronically, no paper check mailed, the earliest I could get the payment authorized was Dec 3. That’s great, but the credit card shows a time due of noon. My bank guarantees payment by 5 pm.
Now, the happy ending for me is that I’m neurotic enough to have had my eye on the credit card activity, and set up the payment right after the close of the cycle on Nov 13. I took a moment to call the credit card company and asked why a bill dated Nov 13 took 13 days to get to me. They had no idea, just offered that this time of year the mail runs slow. I asked what they’d have done if I mailed the check and they got it a week late due to the mail, and of course she offered me the late fee ($39) and interest (a lot, it was a big bill).
So, here’s my advice: watch for the bills. Note the dates the statement’s cycle ends, so you don’t get caught with a bill that you’ll pay late or need to overnight a check. If you use online banking, consider a recurring payment of an amount you know will be higher than the minimum payment. You’ll still be hit with interest if the bill isn’t paid in full, but you’ll avoid a late fee and potential black marks on your credit report.
JOE

  • JAL November 28, 2007, 11:07 am

    Joe,

    Receiving paper bills and then writing checks is out of date and risky for the reasons you’ve pointed out. Electing to receive bill notices via email, then viewing and paying them online is a smart, efficient, and stress free way to live (and protect your credit rating).

    And don’t rely on an emailed notice of when to pay your bills! It’s wise to check biller’s web sites frequently, not only to catch unauthorized charges should they occur, but also to double check payment your due dates and verify all payments are properly scheduled.

    Have a great day,

    JAL

  • Chris December 9, 2007, 1:45 am

    Unless you have some fear of the credit card company drafting your checking account directly, set up an automatic payment, at least for the minimum. The issuer will post the payment on the last date, and it will take a few more days before it hits your checking account.

    I set them up to pay the full balance. I get most statements online but some still come by USPS. Even if they’re late arriving, I’m never late paying. I don’t worry about it.

    I use online banking linked to MS Money, so I always know my balance.

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