Missing a bill payment leaves you with quite a pit in your stomach, especially when you see that hefty late fee! Some late fees may only be around $5 but others can be upwards of $35 or more. From department stores to credit cards, cell phone providers, and more, late fees are no new thing. Thankfully, you can find a number of ways to avoid late fees by remembering to send your payment on time, and even a helpful recourse if you do happen to miss a payment here or there.
Even with the best intentions, it is still possible to miss a payment, especially when life is in a state of chaos. Try these tips to help you remember to pay your bills on time so you can avoid paying late fees and more importantly, prevent your credit rating from dropping.
- Pay your bills when they arrive. If you use your bank account or your online banking to pay the bills, you can log in and set a date that you wish for the funds to be transferred. This gets it off your plate right away, not leaving you with a chance to forget.
- Plan in advance when you will be away. If you are going to be on vacation or out of town around the time your bill comes due, be sure to pay it before you go or take the bill, a postage stamp, and your checkbook with you.
- Use technology to your advantage. Try an app on your phone or something like Google Calendar to help you stay on top of your bill due dates. Set up reminders to ensure you never miss a payment.
- Organize and coordinate for best results. Consider trying to change your due dates so all of your bills come due around the same time. This may not be possible with all creditors, especially store charge cards, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Act fast if the due date is upon you. Drop off a payment in person or call in your payment if you are down to the last minute. You can usually avoid a late fee by making a payment on the due date in one of these ways.
Of course, one day you may still find yourself facing a late fee despite your best efforts. We all have our good months and bad ones. Sometimes it is possible to escape a late fee, even if you missed your payment by days, a week, or sometimes more. Even the most organized people can miss a payment when their life gets in the way.
If you find yourself in this situation, be sure to call the creditor, state your best intentions and positive track record, and ask for them to waive the fee just this once, even offering a payment by phone at this very moment if possible, or let them know when you did send the payment. Prompt payment is essential, as well as a positive, pleasant attitude. Most creditors will give you one free pass on the late fee, so be sure to ask!