Forgetting your credit card payments has serious consequences. When you’re late on payments, your creditors will charge a late fee, increase your interest rate or both. If you’re more than 30 days late on your payment, the credit bureaus are notified.
Since payment history is a big part of your credit score – 35% to be precise - late payments can hurt you significantly, especially payments more than 90 days late. Making timely credit card payments, and even other debt payments, is crucial to saving money and keeping a great credit score.
Change your payment due date. Your credit card payment will be due on the same date every month. However, if that date is inconvenient, you can have your credit card issuer change it. For example, if you get paid on the 10th, you might change your due date to the 14th or 15th of the month rather than the 1st. Also consider changing your payment due date if you have too many payments due at once or if you'd like all your payments to be due around the same time.
Write the due dates on your calendar. It doesn’t matter if it’s a wall calendar, pocket calendar, or the calendar on your phone, just make sure it’s one that you check frequently, i.e. daily or at least every other day. If you’re not in the habit of using a calendar, this method might not be the best one to help you remember your payment.
Have an email sent to you a few days before the due date. You can use a site like MemoToMe.com or FollowUpThen.com to send yourself email reminders each month a few days before your due date. However, be careful about relying on a service like this. If the service goes out of business, you could miss a payment if you don’t remember to pay without the email reminder.
Set up an automatic payment through online banking. If your bank offers online billpay, you can set it up so that your credit card payment goes out automatically. Make sure you set the payment date so the credit card issuer gets your payment in advance of your due date. Also check your account to be sure you have enough money to cover your payment.
Download a reminder app for your smartphone. Visit your phone’s app store or market to find an app that will notify you of dates, like Remember the Milk for example which is available for iPhone and Android phones. Make sure you choose an app that will notify you with a sound.
Pay all your bills at once. It's harder to keep up with due dates when they're spread throughout the month. If you pay all your bills at once time, you have it out of the way for the month and you don't have to keep checking to see if you paid this bill or that one. You can also pay bills on the same day each week, for example, Mondays or Saturdays, if your pay schedule doesn't allow you to pay all the bills at once. Having a regular designated bill payment date keeps you in front of your bills and prevents you from getting behind on payments.
Pay bills when you get paid. Using another recurring event, like payday, as a trigger to make your payments can help you remember. If you can't afford to pay all your bills from one check, then split up your bills according to amounts and due dates.
Let the bill itself be your reminder. Bills come two to three weeks ahead of the due date, but you don't have to wait to send your payment. Unless you're waiting on a payday, you can send your credit card and loan payments as the statements come in the mail. When you pay the bills as they come, they never have a chance to get past due. There's a slight drawback - if a bill gets misplaced or lsot in the mail and that's your only trigger to pay it, you could miss the payment that month.
Get in the habit of double and triple checking that you’ve made your payments throughout the month. Use a bill payment checklist to keep track of payments you've made. A backup system helps ensure your payments are made even when your primary notification method fails.