Pay A Credit Card Bill Online

Should I Pay A Credit Card Bill Online, Through Autopay Or Using A Smart Phone App?

Should you pay a credit card bill online? Well, now you have a nice shiny new credit card, or maybe a dusty but beautiful classic, in your wallet but you wonder how best to pay it and how to manage it. Let’s answer a few burning questions about the logistics of making your payments, like, “Can I pay a credit card with a phone”?

Should I Pay by Mail?

Paying your credit card by mail is a tried and true method of payment. But then again, in many ways it is outdated. It requires your writing a check (do they even teach this in school anymore?) or you have to pay the credit card with money order, then put a stamp on an envelope (how much do stamps cost these days, anyway?) and sending the letter off snail mail. And it can be slow. If you plan to pay via the mail remember two things.
First, allow 7 business days for your check to get to the company and be processed. This means that you have to have the money in the bank the moment you write the check, in case the system works quickly. But you need to allow plenty of time in case things go slowly so you don’t end up with a late payment. Also, you need to remember that you wrote the check and not accidentally spend that money before the check clears.
Second, never put your payment in your mailbox for the mail person to pick up. This leaves you open to identity and financial theft. Take the payment to the post office.

Your Best Bet: Pay a Credit Card Bill Online

Every major bank has an online website that accepts credit card payments. Usually your payment is credited that same day if you make it before 5pm (but check with your bank for their specific times). Often, the available credit is updated the moment you make the payment or by the next day.
To pay a credit card bill online is a great way to pay so that you can see, for certain, that your payment is accepted on time. No late fees. Fast turn-around time. Excellent option.
Paying through your bank’s bill pay tool online is another great option. This is a convenient, safe way to pay your bills and all major banks (and even many small credit unions) have these payment systems now. You can even use it to pay your lawn service, pet sitter or anyone with a mailing address! Just beware of delivery times – they are usually 24 hours, but can be a few days in some cases.

To Auto Pay or Not – Not

Credit card companies love to see you use auto pay, where the minimum payment is automatically debited from your account on your due date. However, when you do this you lose control of your own money. And what if there is a mistake? What if your company messes up and doesn’t deposit your check on time, or you fall ill and can’t get your check to the bank? You can have bounce charges.
Financial expert for CNN news, Clark Howard, recommends against using auto pay on any of your accounts. The good news – most banks allow you to set payments weeks, even months in advance by using your own bank to send the money (rather than having the credit card company pull out the money), so if you do want to set up your payments in advance you can do it directly from your bank rather than giving someone else access to pull money from your account. If you do decide to use auto pay be very careful of the following:

  • Track when debits are going to come out of your account.
  • Ensure you have ample money in the account a day in advance.
  • Contact the company if your bank information changes.
  • Know what number to call if you want to cancel the auto pay.

Smart Phone Apps – A Good Idea?

Can you pay a credit card with an iphone? Sure. Smart phone apps are one more way to manage your credit card account. All the major banks, and many small banks and credit unions, have apps. These can be a great way to check your account activity, watch for fraud and even make payments. Just be sure to always log out of the app and not store your password in the app in case your phone or tablet is lost or stolen. Note that if you wonder if you can pay a credit card in cash the answer may be no. Only if your bank is local can you usually do this.

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