Why a $117 Late Fee Won’t Stop Late PaymentsPosted by Cap on June 7, 2006 |
The late payment fee for some credit cards are $39. Being penalize with a late fee sucks. It’s like being punished for being forgetful.
The thing about late fee though, is that it’s not really a punishment from your credit card company (at least from their perspective). When a credit card company issues you a late fee, they’re not saying: “This is so you’ll learn your lesson, so you’ll realize that you should pay on time, and we hope you won’t pay late again.” No, what you do get is a little line on your statement: Late Fee—XXX Amount.
So it’s in my opinion that credit cards company aren’t really up to the task of keeping you responsible; they shouldn’t, and it wouldn’t work anyway. Even if they triple late fees to $117—the amount of some traffic violation tickets—there will still be plenty of people paying their bills late. Just like how there are still plenty of people driving around without their seat belt on.
Like traffic tickets, paying your bills late is a common sense no-no. There are also the same potential long term affects, traffic record for your ticket, and credit history for your late payment. The immediate late fee may suck, but if you do it frequent enough, your credit will be affected, and you’ll really feel it on the day you sit across from the mortgage lender. Thousands-of-dollars feel it.
There are many reasons why a person would be a late bill payer. For me, it’s because I’m a lazy sucker. I tend to put things off till the last minute, for no particular good reason. Really bad habits, my friends will attest to it. Although I’ve only paid my credit card bill late once, you wouldn’t believe how many late fees I’ve receive from the library.
Thankfully, lazy people can get away with a lot of things today. There are too many different ways to pay for your credit card bill these days, that it’s silly to pay late. Be more responsible? Start caring more? Stop being lazy? Changing bad habits will take time, paying your bills on time—won’t.
Online Payment Saves The Day
Just about every major credit card issuer allows online payment. Your credit card doesn’t provide one and you tend to pay late? Ditch them. Seriously, get a new one. I’m not saying it’s a requirement, but if having a card with online payment can stop you from paying your bills late, then the money saved will be well worth it.
Many online payments also allows you to schedule your payment, automatically. That means you can set your bills to be paid on a certain day, via a certain amount. Best bet for late payers? Set it to the minimum amount due, on the day that you know you’ll have funds in your checking account. Or, set it to a fixed amount if you have a balance currently. Better yet, set it to pay-in-full monthly.
Too lazy to setup an online account for your credit card? It won’t take that long at all, the time you spent on this now, will save you plenty more time in the future. Even if you don’t pay your bills late, you should sign up for an online account. The conveniences and accessibility will amaze you. If you’re careful with your password, and be proactive about distinguishing fake emails, security for your online account should be the last of your worries. Trust me, the benefits outweigh the low risk.
Changing Due Date To Fit Your Busy Lifestyle
Don’t want to sign up for an online account? Want to do this the hard way? Fine. Did you know that most major credit card issuers will allow you to change your bill due date? This means, you don’t have to worry about writing out different checks to different card issuers on different days. Call up your credit card company and check if they’ll let you change your due date to a more flexible date.
Quite a few issuers also allows you to set your due date while you apply for your credit card, so keep that in mind the next time you open up another credit card account. Match the date along with your other bills, or set it after you receive your paycheck, plenty of options.
Pay By Phone To Save Your Butt
Today IS the last day and you totally forgot to pay your bill? Many card issuers also allows you to pay by phone, but make sure there aren’t fees associated with it before you use it. Pay by phone is indeed the last minute option. Last week, I totally forgot about a bill due for my Bank of America VISA. While I was busy hating myself (again), I realized I could pay by phone. Flip the card around, call the 1-800 number on the back, punch in my checking account information, specify the amount, and I’m done. Once again, modern day convenience beats out modern day laziness.
Try Changing Your Attitude A Bit
As mentioned, there are many reasons why a person pay their bill late. I don’t want to get on a hypocrite lecturing rampage, but it’s in my opinion that if you adjust your mental outlook a bit, things will be a lot easier. You shouldn’t require a $117 late fee to make you think twice about paying late, just like how people shouldn’t buckle up just because of some lame threat (click it or ticket)—you should do it because it’s the right thing to do. If you’re starting to pay late frequently, ask yourself why. It’s worth it.
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