Can You Tell Me How to Use it Correctly?
Consumers always have questions about credit. Eddie Montalvo, for instance, wonders if it’s a mistake to pay a credit card bills too quickly.
I?m a senior citizen, living on a fixed income. I like to pay my credit card bills as soon as I get my Social Security check, even though the payment due date is two to three weeks away. I always send a little bit more than the monthly minimum amount. Does it work against me to pay way before the due date?? he asked.
No. Paying early will reduce the average daily balance on the account, and lower the finance charges you?ll owe the next month.
In general, it’s better to pay early than even a little bit late. About a third of card issuers require payments to be received before a specified hour on the due date to be considered on time, according to a survey by Consumer Action, an advocacy group.
You don’t always know that, however, because the cutoff time may not be prominently noted on your bill. To avoid being hit with late fees, mail your credit card payment at least a week before it’s due.
Sending a payment early is fine–as long as you don’t mail it so early that it reaches the card issuer before the start of the your billing cycle. If you do, you could end up having two payments credited in one billing cycle and none the next. Since you technically didn’t make a payment during one billing cycle, you could get charged a late fee.
Sharon Wright, meanwhile, wants to know how marriage affects credit scores. When you get married, do the credit bureaus create a combined credit score for the two of you?? she asked.
No. You both continue to have individual credit scores, based on your own bill payment history. But even though you don’t have a joint score, lenders will usually look at the scores of both spouses when you apply jointly for credit.”