Should I pay my credit card bill as soon as I get it? - Bright
By making payments early, you can lower your credit utilization ratio and boost your credit score.
Paying your bills on time is always a good idea, and with credit card bills, you could even boost your credit score. If you have a credit card balance, it’s best to pay it off as soon as you receive your monthly statement. This can help you avoid late fees and high interest charges, and it could help lower your interest rate.
In fact, paying your credit card bill early — or even making more than one payment each billing cycle — can have surprising benefits. Here’s an overview of why you should consider making early credit card payments.
How early can I pay my credit card bill?
Usually, paying your credit card bill early means making a payment before the due date. The period between the date of your purchase or charge and the card’s due date is known as the grace period. You can make payments any time during the grace period.
In other words, you can make an early payment any time after a charge or purchase shows up on your account. Or you can wait until your card issuer sends you a statement showing all your activity over the full billing cycle and make early payments then, also before the due date.
Regardless of when you do them, making early payments is a good way to build a positive payments history, especially when it means avoiding late payments.
Remember: if you’re still making payments with a check via mail, there’s a chance your check could arrive late. The US Postal Service doesn’t always deliver on time or in predictable ways. If you’re using the mail, it’s a good idea to send payments a few days before your payment due date.
What happens if I don’t pay my credit card bill on time?
Almost always you’ll pay a late fee. And fees vary between cards. Check your statement for details.
Depending on the card company, other consequences can vary. For instance, if you don’t pay your card bill on time, your credit score will probably be affected, and you could end up paying higher interest rates. You might also end up with credit card accounts being closed.
The longer it takes to pay the bill, the worse the effects can be. But if you missed a due date, try to make a payment as soon as you can. Credit bureaus recognize that as responsible behavior.
Unexpected situations and emergencies can leave you with insufficient funds to pay off your credit cards — or even to make the minimum due payment. Unfortunately, card issuers and credit bureaus aren’t very sympathetic. The situations that often lead to late payments are irrelevant to them. They’ll likely penalize you, regardless of your reasons.
To be clear, let’s spell it out. The four common consequences of missed payments are:
- Your credit score drops.
- You’ll pay a late fee.
- Your interest rate might go up.
- Your card issuer might close your account.
If you are struggling to pay off the entire balance on your cards, try making minimum payments to avoid late fees. Try contacting your credit card company and adjust your dates. It’s a common thing for individuals struggling with card payments and most of the issuers are happy to help.
What are the benefits of paying my credit card bill as soon as I get it?
Paying your card bill as soon as you get it is a good idea, with lots of good consequences. Here’s a few:
1. Lower credit utilization
Making an early payment before the end of a billing cycle could lower your credit utilization, a key factor in your credit score. If you make an early payment, you’ll likely free up more of your available credit, which lowers your utilization ratio (the percentage of credit you’re currently using).
Ideally, it is best to keep your credit utilization ratio under 30%. This could help boost your credit score faster.
2. Lower interest charges
Carrying a credit card balance month on month lets your credit card issuer charge you more every month. If you pay your credit card bill in full every billing cycle, you’ll never pay interest charges. And isn’t that the best deal of all?
Paying your bill as soon as you get it ensures you don’t miss a due date, too. Pay it when you get it, and you’ll never pay a late fee — and, if you pay it in full, you’ll never carry a balance that accrues interest charges.
3. Build a healthy credit score
Paying your bill when you get it can help your credit score. Credit bureaus reward responsible on-time payments, and early ones only boost your creditworthiness.
With a healthy credit score, lenders often offer more favorable credit cards, with higher limits, lower interest rates and more perks.
What is the best way to pay my credit card bill?
However, there are various manual options available:
1. Online payments:
One of the easiest ways to make a credit card payment is through online transfers. Connect your bank and your card issuer and transfer funds quickly. Or sign up for automated payments with payment dates and amounts that work best for you.
2. Over the phone:
If you prefer to make a payment over the phone, just call the credit card company’s telephone number. Before you do so, make sure that you have the account number of your checking or savings account handy.
3. Payments made with cash:
Some credit card companies still allow customers to make cash payments at a bank branch or an ATM. Before you try to make a payment using cash, check the guidelines of your credit card company.
4. Alternative payment modes:
Use Bright to pay your credit card bills on time every month. Bright studies your finances and makes smart payments for you, always on time and always optimized to save on interest charges. With Bright, you’ll pay off credit card debts faster, automatically.
By making payments before your due date, you can lower your credit utilization ratio and boost your credit score. When you pay at least the minimum due early, you’ll also avoid late fees and penalties.
Originally published at https://www.brightmoney.co.