While I can’t recommend using credit cards or letting a balance accumulate on them, I know that for some people, it’s a way to survive. The time immediately surrounding our wedding and the first month of living in a new city (before we got our first paychecks) we put our groceries on credit cards. We had to eat, after all.
I’m not trying to condemn anyone who has credit card debt, but at the same time, I don’t encourage their use. My husband and I haven’t used our credit cards for awhile now, and hope to eventually sever all ties with credit card companies.
Anyway, if you find yourself paying your credit card a day or a few late (maybe you didn’t have the money at the time, or maybe the due date changed and you didn’t know it, or maybe you forgot, or who knows…) you should consider this:
Call the credit card company and ask them to waive the late fee. You should do this AFTER you’ve already made your payment.
I have a friend in the credit card business, and she told me:
"If you are late paying on your monthly balance, but you have sent the payment, then you can call and they’ll waive the late fee. They’ll do that as long as they’ve received the payment and only once within a 12 month period.
I don’t know if every credit card company does that, but it can’t hurt to call and ask."
Our first car payment didn’t go through, since it was linked to the wrong checking account. The account was ours, it just didn’t have enough money in it to cover the payment, while the main checking account did (and that was the account that was supposed to be linked to the car payment). Confusing.
I called customer service, explained what happened, and they waived the late penalty, and helped get the correct automatic payment set up.
The moral of the story: Call and ask for those late fees to be waived. But better yet, get to the point where you don’t have debt payments at all. That makes life much simpler, don’t you think?