Are you still writing a check to pay your credit card bill every month? Did you know there’s an easier way? Many credit card issuers allow cardholders to make credit card payments online. Paying online is faster (save yourself a trip to the post office) and cheaper (no need to buy a stamp or envelope). If your due date is just a couple of days, or hours, away, you can make an online payment and avoid a late fee.
There are two ways to pay your credit card bill online: either directly through the credit card issuer’s website or via your bank’s online bill pay.
Paying Through the Card Issuer’s Website
Check your billing statement to find out the website for making your credit card payment. With major credit cards, the URL may be the same as the company’s name. For example, Capital One credit card payments can be made at CapitalOne.com. But, the URL for making retail credit card payments is often different from the company’s main website.
When you’ve located the correct web address for making payments, you’ll need to create a username and password so you can log on to the card issuer’s website. You’ll also need your credit card information. This step is only required the very first time you make an online credit card payment. After the first time, you’ll just log in using the username and password you created.
Make sure to use a strong password that’s difficult to guess. It should be long, include a mixture of characters, and unique from other passwords. Your card issuer’s website may require certain characters to force you to pick a difficult password. For example, your password may need at least one uppercase character and a number. Don’t write your password anywhere and especially do not store it in the same place as your username.
Once you’ve logged on, look for a link for making payments. It may say “Make a Payment” or “Pay Online” or something similar. Click the link and you’ll be taken to a page that begins the online payment process. Follow the instructions on the page to complete your payment. Set the payment amount and date for the payment to be made, as long as the date is in the future. If you need to make a same day expedited payment to avoid a late fee, call your card issuer’s customer service number.
To submit your payment, you’ll need your bank’s name, bank routing number, and checking or savings account number. You typically cannot use a credit, debit, or prepaid card to pay a credit card bill.
Review your payment information for correctness. Then, press the “Ok” or “Submit” button, just once. Don’t press the back button, especially after you’re taken to the confirmation page. Doing either of these could result in double payment.
Once your payment is confirmed, you can print or save the page so you have proof of payment. (I like to do a screen capture of the important payment information.)
Pay Through Your Bank’s Online Bill Pay
Your bank’s online bill pay may also give you the ability to make credit card payments, if you’ve signed up for that service. The benefit of paying this way is that you can pay all your bills in one place. The downside is that you may need to schedule payments in advance of your due date. It could take longer for your credit card issuer to receive your payment depending on whether your bank sends a paper check or makes the payment electronically. Obviously, electronic payments are faster.
To pay through your bank’s online bill pay, you’ll have to set your credit card issuer up as a biller. You’ll need the card issuer’s name (locate “Make checks payable to” on your credit card statement), the address to where you should send payments, your credit card account number, and the card issuer’s phone number. You’ll only have to do this once for each of your credit cards, unless the payment information for the card issuer changes.
Then, when you’re ready to pay the bill, just enter the amount of the payment and the date you want the payment to be made (ideally a few days before the due date). Press “Ok” or “Submit” to let your bank know to make the payments.
Basic Payment Rules Still Apply
Whichever method you choose make sure you follow some basic rules of making credit card payments: pay at least the minimum by the due date and be sure there’s enough money in your checking account to cover the payment.