I’ve got 5 credit cards right now. I take good care of them and I make it a point to always be early on my bill payments. I’ve been building up credit on the cards, never carrying more than 60% of the card’s capacity, paying the bills 2 weeks in advance, and paying at least 3 times the minimum payment. It’d been going great.
This morning, I logged into my American Express account. I accessed my ‘Blue’ card, which has been taking the majority of my recent expenses. Bang. ‘Payment Due Wednesday, December 21st’. Today is the 23rd. My stomach sank.
Out of my $4000 limit, I had an available credit of $56 dollars. Not good.
I was quite a bit distressed.. being late on a payment is NOT a good thing. I thought back to early in the month, I had a DISTINCT memory of sending in a payment for $600. I checked the payment history. Nothing there. Then I had the sinking feeling. Maybe I hadn’t ‘confirmed’ it. I was late.
15 minutes later and I was on the phone with American Express. I explained the situation and the lady asked if I’d like to pay by phone. I agreed and she took care of it.
I breathed a sigh of relief. I asked her about dropping the late fee and notice of late payment. She said I’d have to call back a week later once it cleared. I agreed, marked the date on my calendar, and that was done.
Wow.. I never thought Iii would be late on a credit card payment. I sorta deserve it though..
I’d put off systemizing the process. Credit cards are something you just can’t play around with. I knew from the beginning I needed to carefully track my cards, their due dates, and their balances. Yet I put it off, and put it off, letting other projects take priority, until finally I had to learn the hard way.
Keep Track Of Everything
Credit cards can be a powerful tool. Some people will take a credit card and portray it as ‘the enemy’. That’s not at all the case. Like anything else, a credit card can be used to help you and it can be used to harm you. As an internet entrepreneur, credits cards have played a HUGE part in giving me the freedom and flexibility to spend and invest my money on the internet. I’d have a ROUGH time without them.
What I failed to do, though, was to keep track of my cards. It’s a simple process. As soon as I finish up those post, I’m going to create a ‘Credit Cards’ spreadsheet. There’ll be an area for each card. I’ll keep track of my balances, how much credit I have available on each card, extra notes I have, and, most importantly for me, the billing cycles and due dates for each card. Each week I’ll review the spreadsheet and update it as necessary, keeping close and careful track of my spending on each card.
And that’s that! I’m off to create the spreadsheet and then off to take on the rest of the day :). I expect to have more updates this afternoon/evening. Take care and have an AWESOME holiday season!