Consumer Payment Card News

Squeaky Wheel

When it comes to getting a late fee dropped, it pays to squeak. Credit card issuers are notorious for slamming you with a late fee for being a few hours or one day late. However, consumers who call and complain about a payment that arrives a few days late are finding the extra effort worthwhile. A Wall Street Journal reporter purposely sent his credit card payments one day before the due date to see what would happen. Out of the five credit cards he paid late, four hit him with late fees and/or finance charges. (The payment to one issuer showed up on time.) However, after calling and complaining, all of the issuers reduced and dropped the extra charges, according to today’s (6/4/02) Wall Street Journal Personal Finance Section. Keep in mind though, that the flexibility in waiving late fees does not generally apply to repeat offenders. If possible, send in a minimum payment as soon as the credit card bill arrives. Then make a second, larger payment closer to the due date. Also consider using the online payment option offered by most of the top issuers. In some cases you’ll have to enter your payment online a few days before the due date to have it post in time. Some card issuers also offer the option of setting a due date convenient to you and a few issuers will let you link up a checking account to automatically make the minimum payment when due. Take advantage of the options to beat the late fee game. But, if you get caught, do not be too intimidated to squeak.

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