Avoiding the Credit Card Late Fees

I’ve previously kvetched about Bank of America tacking on a $1.50 monthly fee for the privilege of holding their credit card. I’ve since noticed that my cards with Chase and Wells Fargo likewise are charging me this, and I intend to cancel those as well; they are a little bit trickier in that I have some automatic payments tied to those cards, such as my cable/phone bill.

Let me be honest; 15 years ago, I might not have noticed. But 15 years ago, I had credit card debt approaching five figures. Surely I would have been paying far more interest every 30 days than eight or twelve bits.

Now that I finally have zero credit card debt – none, zilch, nada – these ticky-tack charges really bugs me.

Citi ISN’T charging me this monthly fee yet. It’s just, like most of the rest of them, threaten to increase my interest rate by 50% or more and tack on an outrageous fee if I’m late. This is why I have at least my minimum payment taken out automatically from my checking account.

I got my Discover bill this week. I have an automatic payment on this card too, which happens to be the whole amount of $36. It also has the Late Payment warning: “If we do not receive payment by the date listed above, you may have to pay a late fee of up to $39…” Ah, a potential $39 charge on a $36 purchase.

But here’s the kicker: the minimum due date is March 25, but my “next automatic payment will be on” March 26! I am so paranoid that I called DISCOVER to see if I have to write a check, something the arrangement should have avoided. I discover from a nice woman named Donna that my auto-payment would NOT be considered late, that it was DISCOVER’s processing mechanism. Moreover, she stated – correctly – that if the company were to treat their customers that shabbily, they would soon not have many customers left.

So I shan’t worry about it. But I WILL blog about it…just in case.
A video only everyone who owns, used to own or will own a credit card should watch.
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