If you’ve ever owned a credit card, and most people have at one point or another in their lives, they can be both a blessing and a curse.
If you are like me, you can probably recall that awful sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you receive your statement in the mail. You frantically try to remember all of the purchases you made in the last month, and at the same time you scramble to remember if you made a payment and how much you put down towards the outstanding balance.
Oops, you didn’t.
Or how about that time you did some cleaning and found the credit card bill you swore you paid, but clearly you didn’t because, well, it’s sitting right there in you hand?
I’ve been there!
Missing payments on your credit card is a quick way to rack up late fee charges, hike up your interest rate, and possibly send your credit score into the dump.
I’m not even talking about whether you can afford what’s on your card or not. That’s a whole other issue. I’m talking about missing the due date on your credit card payments.
It happens to most of us at some time or another. Unfortunately, some of us do it more often than we’d like.
So if this sounds remotely like you, here are some helpful tips to help you stay on top of your credit card payments and make sure you pay your credit card on time!
Google Calendar Alerts
Get a bill, go online to write a reminder to pay it. Simple. Google Calendar is a great way to remind yourself to pay your bills on time. You can set up pop-up, email, and text reminders. Heck, you don’t even need your computer these days as you can use Google Calendar from your smartphone or tablet.
Here’s the key — make sure you set your reminders up to give you enough time to get your payment in. If you still mail in payments, make sure you give yourself at least a week before the actual due date. With online payments you can cut the date a little closer but make sure you act on the reminder when you get it!
You can make this even simpler by looking at the due date of your last bill. It should be about the same every month. Use the option in your calendar to set up the reminder every month so you don’t have to rely on logging in the bill.
Don’t use Google Calendar? No worries, many other calendar programs have similar features. The concept is the same.
Set Up Alerts With Your Credit Card Company
Most, if not all, credit card companies have an option to send you an email or a text when your bill is about to be due. You can usually set up how many days in advance you want the reminder as well.
You can even get alerts on when you bill is available online with some companies.
I make sure to set up alerts with my credit card companies. The extra reminder never hurts and it’s a great backup. Best yet, it’s free!
Use Alerts from Other Budget/Money Management Sites
We’re starting to see more and more money account sites out there that will help you budget and manage your money. A site like Mint will not only help you budget, but will also send you reminders when bills are almost due.
Place Sticky Notes Anywhere and Everywhere
If you are the type that needs “in your face” daily and constant reminders, then try placing sticky notes on your fridge, in your wallet, in your vehicle, on your bathroom mirror, on your computer at work, on your computer at home, or where ever else you can think of!
This is a definitely a creative way to guarantee that you will stay on top of all of your credit card payments.
Hopefully this is a system you won’t need for long. I would think the constant reminders would build up a habit for you to remember. But hey, if it works for you.
Set Up Automatic Payments with your Checking or Savings Accounts
Why rely on a reminder when you can just pay the damn thing?
Most credit cards have the option to allow you to automatically pay your credit card bill every month. Just set up the account where the money is to come from and you are set.
A word of caution — Make sure you have the funds available in your linked account! You don’t want to get stuck with insufficient fees. One big charge may be enough to knock you out.
I’m not a huge fan of automatic credit card payments since it’s too easy to not pay attention to my credit card statement if I know it’s automatically getting paid. Also, if there’s a problem, I want to take care of it before a payment is made. I know, I should look at the bill when it comes in, but this is how I work and worry about things.
That said, automatic payments work great for a lot of people.
Write the Due Date Down
Here’s another trick I personally do — Once you get the bill, write the due date really big on the envelope. If you need to, give yourself more time by writing a due date that’s a week earlier than the actual date.
For me, I keep my bills in one place until they are ready to be paid (we hold on to the cash for as long as we can). I can see the due date of the credit card bill when I glance at the bills. Of course the bills would be in order of due date as well.
Pay the Sucker When you Get It
Why risk ANY reminder system not working for you? When you get your credit card bill, pay it!
Of course, for this to work, you need to have money in your account to pay the bill when you get it. For the longest time I needed every day I could to stall and wait for my next paycheck, so I understand if this isn’t a technique that works for you.
If you take these helpful and important tips to heart, you can sleep well at night and be rest assured that you will completely avoid racking up any unnecessary late fees by never missing another credit card payment again! Now wouldn’t that be great?
How do you stay on top of your credit card payments? Let me know how you make sure you pay your credit card on time!