June 2, 2006, Newsletter Issue #18: Avoiding Late Fees: Paying Electronically

Tip of the Week

No one is sitting around saying "What are late fees?" We all know, and none of us are safe from them. Believe it or not, even if you are using your credit card company's online payment tool to make regularly scheduled payments each month, you can still get hit with credit card late fees.

Let's say your minimum payment is $76. You set up your account to automatically withdraw from your checking account each month in the amount of $100 just for good measure. Then you charge a few more things on that card. Bingo, your minimum payment is now $115. If you aren't opening your bills and reviewing them each month, you are going to get hit with a late fee because your payment, even though made in good faith, is less than the minimum due. To avoid this, make sure you check your account online at least once a month and review your statements, whether paper or electronic, as soon as you get them.

If you are making a last-minute, one-time payment, keep in mind that even Internet payments and telephone payments do not post to your account immediately, so leave at least a day for processing.

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