In the current weak economy, or even when the economy gets stronger, are you getting angry when your credit card bank stings you the interest charge, plus an extra $30 to $45, even when you are one day late making a credit card payment? Your indignation is righteous, but what can you do? Some say not much, but here are a few suggestions to help keep more of your money, and make you feel better, too:
- First of all, if you don’t use electronic on-line bill pay already, start doing so. In today’s technological economy, it’s pretty easy. Most banks will be happy to show you how. Make sure that some payment goes to your credit cards on the day before the due date and those onerous charges will become a thing of the past.
- Secondly, if you are not quite ready for on-line payments, at least put a big red reminder on your calendar a week before your payments are due. Remember, even the minimum payment is enough to avoid the penalty fee.
- Third, and you know you’ve heard this before, no credit card debt is good credit card debt. Credit card issuers charge more than organized crime loan sharks. So, start leaving your credit cards at home, so it isn’t so easy to add more debt. Then start paying down your card balances. You know you should. We know the economy needs consumers to resume consuming more, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it all has to be you.
- Finally, here’s a strategy that could cause credit card issuing banks to rethink punitive penalties altogether: Make the card issuing banks share in the pain of their actions. How? Well, you know the bank only makes money when you charge things. So, what if everyone decided that each time they received a late penalty, they vowed not to use that bank’s card for 60 days? In other words, if you get a late penalty, you put that card in your dresser drawer for two months. Imagine if everyone did this? Wow, not only do the card banks cease to profit from their predatory policies, but you get to feel your own power as a consumer. Try it, but also, do you part by not being late in the first place.