Your credit card bill has a payment due date every month, and missing this date can have serious financial consequences.
If you are late making this payment, you can be charged a late fee and even see your interest rate increase.
Late payments also go on your credit report after 30 days. Since payment history is 35% of your credit score, late payments can significantly lower your credit score, especially payments more than 90 days late.
Making timely credit card payments, and even other debt payments are crucial to saving money and keeping a great credit score.
Change Your Payment Due Date
Your credit card payment will be due on the same date every month. However, if that date is inconvenient, you can have your credit card issuer change your payment due date.
For example, if you get paid on the 10th, you might change your due date to the 14th or 15th of the month rather than the 1st.
You should also consider changing your payment due date if you have too many payments due at once or if you'd like all your payments to be due around the same time.
Write the Due Dates on Your Calendar
Make a note on your calendar to remind you when your payment is due.
If you use a paper calendar or planner, make sure it's one your check regularly. If you use a calendar on your phone or computer, set an alert to remind you that your due date has arrived.
If you’re not in the habit of using a calendar, this method might not be the best one to help you remember your payment.
Have an Email Sent Before the Due Date
However, be careful about relying on a service like this. If the service goes out of business, you could miss a payment if you don’t remember to pay without the email reminder.
Set Up an Automatic Payment Through Online Banking
If your bank offers an option to pay the bill online, you can set it up so that your credit card payment goes out automatically. Make sure you set the payment date so the credit card issuer gets your payment in advance of your due date, in case it falls on a holiday or weekend.
If you set up automatic payments, you should also get in the habit of checking your account to be sure you have enough money to cover your payment.
Download a Reminder App for Your Smartphone
Visit your phone’s app store or market to find an app that will notify you of dates, like Remember the Milk for example which is available for iPhone and Android phones.
Make sure you choose an app that will notify you with a sound or send you an alert.
Pay All Your Bills at Once
It's harder to keep up with due dates when they're spread throughout the month. If you pay all your bills at once time, everything is taken care of for the rest of the month.
If your pay schedule doesn't allow you to pay bills all at once, you can also pay bills on the same day each week, for example, Mondays or Saturdays. Having a designated bill payment date prevents you from getting behind on or forgetting payments.
Pay Bills When You Get Paid
Using another recurring event, like payday, as a trigger to make your payments can help you remember. If you can't afford to pay all your bills from one check, then split up your bills according to amounts and due dates.
Let the Bill Be Your Reminder
Bills come two to three weeks ahead of the due date, but you don't have to wait to send your payment. Unless you're waiting for a payday, you can send your credit card and loan payments as the statements come in the mail.
When you pay the bills as they come, they never have a chance to get past due. There's a slight drawback: if a bill gets misplaced or lost in the mail and that's your only trigger to pay it, you could miss the payment that month.
Get in the habit of double and triple-checking that you’ve made your payments throughout the month. Use a bill payment checklist to keep track of payments you've made. A backup system helps ensure your payments are made even when your primary notification method fails.