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How To Fight Late Charges
You paid your credit card on time, perhaps as long as one week before it was due. The next month you check your statement and see a charge for a late payment. Angered, you call the credit card company and learn that the payment was credited to your account one day after it was due. Further questioning reveals an important fact: even one week is hardly enough time to get your bill processed. Fortunately, your late charge was reversed because you took one important step.
Just because you have been assessed a late charge doesnít mean you must pay it. If you receive a late charge, contact the credit card company and explain what happened. At least for the initial infraction you should have the charge reversed. However, if you have a pattern of being late then donít expect help from the company.
Sometimes consumers arenít sure when a payment is processed. If you are paying online, make sure that the date that the funds are being credited is at least one day before the due date. Even if it is paid on the due date, it may not be credited to your account until the afternoon. Many companies consider bills on time as long as they are processed by 1 p.m. on the due date.
If you mail in your bill, check the address where the bill is going to. If it is a post office box the credit card company may not get there every day to pick up the mail. They should, but then they may not. In addition, if it is an out-of-state address, expect that the mail will take some time to get there. Most mail is delivered in 2-3 days but bottlenecks and the holiday season can slow things down. Ask if the credit card company can give to you a local mailing address; big card providers have addresses scattered across the country to receive payments Ė find one that is near to you. Better yet: pay your bills online.
If you are polite and mention your good and long standing relationship with the credit card provider when you call them, then your late charge should be reversed. If you have a history of making late payments, donít expect any help. Remember, you can always ask for a reversal all they have to say is no. Be polite and the clerk on the other end of the phone is likely to accommodate your request.
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