Ever experience a time when you forgot to pay a bill for whatever reason, or you were strapped for cash and you weren't quite sure you'd be able to make your bill payment on time?
Well, life happens, and sometimes even important things slip your mind, and sometimes money is so tight that your wallet squeaks!
So if you run into a situation where you had every intention to pay a bill on time but "something happened," and your payment is going to be a little late, make sure you call your creditor and let them know.
Give them a heads-up.
You'd be surprised how often you can avoid late fees and penalties by simply giving your creditor a "courtesy call."
Preferably before the actual due date!
Call your creditor ASAP and let them know all of the particulars related to your late payment...
- make sure you convey to them that you are aware your payment is late or is going to be late
- apologize for any inconvenience and let them know it was purely an oversight on your part
- assure them you will do your best to never let this happen again
- give them the date your payment will be made by
- tell them the method by which they will receive your payment (regular mail, online payment, payment by phone, overnight mail, etc.)
- if you already know the check number, money order number, tracking number, etc., give them that too
- tell them you are very concerned about maintaining/building a positive payment history with them, and you were hoping they could waive or reverse any late charges or penalties that may be automatically assessed to your account (if any)
- ask that they please notate your account with all of the information you've given them and if they agree to waive any late fees or penalties, verify that your account will be notated with that information also
- for your records, write down the name and contact information of the person you're talking you (i.e. ID#, extension #), along with the date and time of your call (keep this info handy in case you need it later)
- be sure to thank the representative for their assistance
- follow through with making payment just as you stated
Now, the "courtesy call" normally only works if your late payment is an isolated incident, and you plan to make your payment relatively soon after the due date.
Chances are it will NOT work if you are chronically late, and you're telling them you're not making a payment anytime soon, like not until the next billing cycle or due date.
So remember, a simple courtesy call can go a long way in avoiding late fees and penalties, especially when you are proactive and polite, and you follow through!