When I left for vacation I thought I had set up and scheduled everything for my student loans, car insurance, and credit cards to be paid with no issues. Apparently I had not fully set up all of my accounts or missed clicking confirm on the final screen, and one of my credit card payments ended up being missed. This is something I never thought I would have to deal with as I try to be as diligent as possible when it comes to making payments and keeping track of my money. My payment was due on the Saturday that I came back from vacation, but I did not get to pay it until the Monday after which was already too late.
I was freaking out and scheduled a payment right away for the full statement balance, but I saw that I had already been charged a $25 late fee and also $5 in interest as well. That would cancel out the entire 1% cash back that I was earning and I would actually end up losing money. I was also worried that it would end up on my credit report as a missed payment, therefore lowering my credit score.
After calming down for a little bit and taking a deep breath and doing a little bit of research I realized that most credit card companies will not report anything to the credit bureau until you miss two payments in a row (key word here is most), and especially with people who have a history of being reliable in the past. So by having a payment that was only two days late and paying the full balance off gave me some ease of mind there.
I had also read that if you have been reliable and on time with payments for a long period of time, that it’s worth the effort to reach out to your credit card company to see if they are willing to waive the late fee at all. I sent them an e-mail through the secure messaging on their website and basically owned up to my mistake. I admitted that I thought I scheduled a payment and forgot, and that I was on vacation when the payment was due. I stressed that this was a one time mistake and that it would not be repeated, because I had also turned on auto-payments now.
And you know what happened? I got both the fee and the interest refunded to my account in the form of statement credit for next month! I was so relieved that my mistake at least hadn’t caused a hit on my bank account too. I really thought that they were going to deny my request, and I was ready to try the live chat and even calling to ask for the fee to be waived. I wasn’t going to spend a lot of time, but this at least shows that if you don’t ask for something you won’t get it! They gave me the usual “loyal customer” line and a generic response, but at that point I was just really happy to get refunded for my screw up.
I have now set both of my credit cards to be fully automated and pay off the statement balance. This will eliminate the need for me to manually schedule payments and give me the flexibility to login whenever I want and not by a bunch of payment deadlines that are scattered throughout the month. I do still have to manually make my student loan payments though, since I pay specific amounts each month and I’m hoping they will be gone in the near future!
In the past I had kept every payment to manual as it gave me a reason to login and check all my accounts and purchases and easily verify if any fraudulent purchases have made. I know that credit card companies are on top of this and will call you right away if they notice any strange purchases on your account, but it’s always nice to check yourself.
I also knew that I was writing this blog and doing monthly budget reports so I always had an additional reason to login so that I can gather all of that information anyways. I now have decided that setting up auto-payments will be more valuable than the “reasons” I had to login, and of course I will still login to check things even with the auto-payment option on. I know this is a mistake I don’t plan on repeating, and I’m extremely grateful that it didn’t end up costing me any money.