There’s nothing like kicking a person while they’re down. Late fees are fun for no one but they’re also very easily avoided. Keeping careful track of your bills is one way to avoid accruing late fees but sometimes they’re downright unavoidable. When you hit a snag and don’t want the fees piling up on you, take these few suggestions to heart.
- Find Other Sources of Income. Depending on the payment, you could be looking at huge sums of money. Some bills charge a percentage of the overall amount owed, so depending on the type of payment you may be out of luck. Mortgages can be especially tricky, as can car payments or the like. In situations like these, it may be best to search for other sources of income to cover your bill, whether that’s a family or friend willing to lend a hand that specializes in lending money during emergency situations. After applying and being approved online, the money is deposited into your checking account so you can make your payment as soon as it comes due. The interest you pay on a short-term loan may be less than the late fees you’re likely to incur from the company you owe.
- Call the Company. While it often depends on your payment history, the company you owe may be willing to help you out of a one-time jam. Call them and let them know you’re having a hard time making your payment and they may be able to give you a few days grace period as a courtesy to you as their customer. If they know that you’re going to make a payment soon, they may also be able to prevent a late charge from being assessed to your account. Whatever their answer, it never hurts to try. The worst that can happen is they’ll say there’s nothing they can do and you can move on to your next option, which is…
- Call Your Bank. Give your bank a call and see if there’s anything they have that may be able to help you. Some banks offer rush delivery on payments for an additional charge, so if you’ve forgotten to pay and just realized, the rush payment fee may be less than the penalty you’ll receive for paying late. If it’s a matter of the funds not being in your account, you may be able to have them approve the transaction anyway based on your previous history. You’ll have overdrawn your account and are likely to face an overdraft fee but that may be better than the alternative.
Obviously prevention is the best method to avoid late fees. If you’re having a hard time keeping up with due dates, download an app to help you keep it straight. Send your payments off early if possible to minimize the possibilities of the bill being lost in the mail or delayed for any reason. Don’t let late fees cause you unnecessary pain.