If you’re having difficulty making your credit card payments, you are not alone. Millions of Americans are struggling right now to keep their payments up to date.
When tough times hit, people put things such as utility bills and grocery store costs right on their credit card. This solves the problem for a moment, but when that payment comes in you’ll realize the bill is much bigger than what you can afford.
Contrary to what you may think, the credit card companies are not your enemy. They need you as much as you need them. You are their customer so they may be willing to help you out if you’re having trouble making your payments.
Let me go through a list of things your credit card company can do to make your life a bit easier.
Change Your Due Date
Let’s say a credit card due date is quickly approaching and you know you will not be able to make a payment, not even the minimum payment. Your bill is due on the 12th but you don’t get your paycheck until the 15th. What you can do is call your credit card company and let them know about your predicament. Ask them if they could please change the due date to the 16th.
Not only can they do this once, but they may even do this permanently so you’ll always have enough money to pay your card since the bill is due right after pay day, not before.
Note: The thing to remember about this is to be proactive. Do not wait until a payment is past due in order to contact them.
Waive Your Late Fees
Sometimes you don’t have enough money to pay your bill. Other times you may forget to pay on time. Either way you will be hit with a nasty $35 late fee. You may think you have to pay this fee no matter what, but there’s a way to have this fee waived. It’s as easy as asking for it to be removed from your bill.
I know it sounds too good to be true, but you have nothing to lose by calling your credit card company and asking them to remove this charge on your bill. It helps if you have a valid excuse like their website was down for maintenance or if you didn’t receive your paper bill.
Note: This only works if you’re a long-time customer with an impeccable payment history. And it only works once.
Credit Limit Increase
An increased credit limit can have an immediate impact on your credit score. The credit bureaus calculate something called a “credit utilization ratio”. The lower your percentage is the better your score will be.
It’s calculated by dividing your total credit card balance by your total credit limit. So if your credit limit is $5,000 and you’re using $4,000 of it, that is a very high 80% credit utilization rate. If your credit card could raise your limit to $8,000 your ratio goes down to 50% which will surely give a boost to your credit score.
With the current economic climate it may be difficult to get your credit card to increase your credit limit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try.
Note: This works best if you’ve been a good customer and you need to make a big purchase soon, like a new laptop, and are planning on paying with your credit card.