Earlier this month, About.com Reader Tami says Capital One is her worst credit card because they charged a late fee on her Capital One credit card payment even though it was paid on the due date before 5 p.m. Capital One's excuse: the payment was made after 5 p.m. Eastern time. Tami lives in the Pacific time zone.
The Credit CARD Act does allow credit card issuers to specify a 5 p.m. cutoff time for accepting credit card payments, but the law doesn't say the cutoff time applies to a specific time zone. Still, I believe any cardholder would assume 5 p.m. cutoff applies to their time zone. How is anyone supposed to know the time zone of the credit card issuer's payment processing center?
Watch out. Capital One may not be the only credit card issuer to pull a stunt like this. If you're making a payment the day it's due, you'll be better off sending payment in the morning to avoid any time zone issues. Making your payment well in advance of the due date will eliminate the due time issue.