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Use the Resources Your Credit Card Gives You

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I can’t be sure, but I’m guessing that most credit cards today have some form of online access. With my cards, I have chosen to be set up so I can make payments online so I don’t have to worry about payments getting lost in the mail or freaking out the day a payment is due. All I have to do is go online and pay it by their submittal deadline.

I love that feature. But some of you may not be comfortable with having your account tied to your credit card, which is understandable. Even if you will never pay your bill online, you might want to consider signing up for online access to your credit card(s).

Why?

Probably one of the handiest features that I have used with my online accounts are the email alerts. With all of my credit cards, I am signed up so I get emails when my monthly statements are ready and I also get an email if I haven’t paid the card yet about a week before the payment is due. Those are two great reminders that keep things fresh in my head so I do not miss a payment.

I also like to monitor credit card use. I do have some automatic payments hitting my credit cards for blog related fees. I have the habit of going online and checking for new charges at least weekly. That makes me feel like I am on top of things and I am now in the habit of turning around and paying charges immediately. Also, if any fraudulent charges appear, I can report them quickly.

Lastly, I check for online balance transfer offers. Lately, I have been receiving some less desired offers with either huge balance transfer fees or interest rates that aren’t that low. I am still holding out for a wonderful 0% balance transfer offer or anything at or below 3.9% with no balance transfer fee. I keep checking weekly…hoping to catch a great offer.

It normally doesn’t take long to sign up. At least for me, the few minutes taken to sign up has been worth it because those email alerts have saved me from forgetting a payment a few times πŸ˜‰


12 Comments

  • Reply Steven |

    The only thing to be wary of is that some (arguably crummy) credit cards charge a fee to pay online.

    Also, some credit cards take a few weeks to verify bank account information, so don’t always assume that you can create an account the day before. This was the case with my Citibank rewards card.

  • Reply Tim |

    i’d rather push rather than pull payments. you don’t want your creditors to have access to your bank account, so you should push the payment from your bank to your creditors. pulling would be to pay your bill throug the credit card company.

    another deal that card companies have are promotions like $25 for going electronic statements. I don’t know if any have them now, but I’ve received a couple.

    i prefer to do billpay through my bank. i can input almost all my accounts on my online bank and monitor account balances from there. i can also set up payee options and request ebills through the bank rather than ebill through the creditors.

  • Reply Cari |

    I had the same problem with my Discover card that Steven mentions above. Luckily for me, I’d anticipated it and paid the first month via my bank’s bill pay feature.

  • Reply ThisLittlePiggy |

    I recommend online access. As you’ve stated, you can monitor for unauthorized charges, check balances, get email reminders and check for promotions. I get paid bi-weekly so I make my payments bi-weekly also. I pay my balance off in full each payday but if I were carrying a balance this is a good way to pay extra to bring the balance down faster.

  • Reply Deby |

    I have to say I LOVE online banking. I pay all of my bills thru my bank’s bill pay so everything is centralized and easy to monitor. My bank allows me send a payment immediately once I’ve entered the information for a new bill so that’s not a problem for me. I handle my Mom’s finances as well, and I have the bank send a paper check to pay her personal loans to people that can’t take electronic payments. Also, they will guarantee the payment will arrive on time if I make it a certain number of days before the due date. Between on-line access and my atm checkcard, I almost never write a check anymore.
    Ok I feel like I’m a shill for the bank right now, but I think this is such a great thing that I’m always trying to turn people onto it.

  • Reply Cat |

    Another nice features is that at least on credit card company (I want to say Discover) lets you set things up so they pull your minimum payment on the due date – no more late payments. (assuming the cash is in the bank)

  • Reply Kim L. |

    I’m a big fan of accessing my credit cards online! Like you said, it’s so easy to monitor what’s going on that way. I also get paid weekly so when I was still paying down the credit cards it made it so easy to pay them weekly. I really think that helped me pay off things faster!

  • Reply james |

    I don’t see why anyone who is really serious about paying off credit balances would care if the credit banks have your payments taken out automatically. If you’re busy, and most are, why would you want to worry about meeting deadlines when you don’t have to? The thing to do is to definitely only have the minimum payment taken out, and then pay more separately (you just have to know which ones then apply the extra payment to your next minimum, cancelling it out, and which ones go ahead and deduct it as previously scheduled).

    This is definitely the ticket to having no late fees.

    I’ve had cards that don’t have the autopay feature and I prefer to pay these by phone, because it takes place immediately. I shortly then get an email acknowledging payment. I prefer the phone for paying (if it’s free) to online payment. American Express is free phone payment, but many are not. I never mail a payment in except when I’m paying the extra, so there’s no getting frantic about missing payment, as Cat said. I just use the online feature for accessing the accounts (change the passwords frequently), and getting email reminders.

    One email reminder that is slightly deceiving and ought to be removed from one of the company’s software somehow is that one card reminds me of a payment even though it is already on autopay–telling me that I should go ahead and pay it quickly for a fee: This should not appear because being signed up for autopay means I never have to think about paying the minimum myself.

    One card I cancelled from autopay a few years ago because I would get the bill or see it online and it would say the due date was such and such date, then would deduct payment BEFORE that date. This was only a couple of days, but that could have been just the couple of days when I hadn’t made sure to cover it in my account. Most of them post it on the due date, but it does not post as a payment on your checking account, etc., until several days later.

    You still have to keep up, but it’s a whole lot easier if you don’t have to waste time on deadlines. I don’t know why anyone would care, as mentioned by one commenter, that the credit card bank has access to your checking account if you planned to pay at least the minimum anyway. In any case, this method has meant that I’ve never once had to pay a late fee.

  • Reply Tim |

    just target your recurring payments in the middle of your billing cycle rather than towards the end. I’ve noticed recently that my due dates have been changing for no reason.

  • Reply Scott |

    These are great tips. Unfortunately not everyone uses them to their fullest advantage. Online bill pay has really made my life a little bit easier.

  • Reply ispf |

    Nice post! Another feature one of my credit card offers is to be notified by email if the transaction exceeds a certain limit. I have set the limit to $100.00 since I rarely spend more than $100 on a single transaction. This way, even if I dont keep a constant watch on my credit card statement, I will be notified immediately in case of identity theft and the thief uses the card to buy big ticket items. Also, in the event that I do receive a mail because I overspent, it is like an admonishment that makes me pace out the rest of the month πŸ™‚

So, what do you think ?