Key points

  • I accidentally paid a credit card late.
  • I called the company and explained what had happened to a customer service representative.
  • I made an instant payment over the phone and the company waived the late fees.

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A short time ago, I made a mistake with my credit cards. I had switched checking accounts and didn’t have autopay set up yet, so I had to go in and manually make a payment. I thought I had completed this process, but unfortunately I must have gotten distracted before I hit “submit” because my payment didn’t go through.

I did not find out about this issue until I received my new credit card statement and saw I had been charged a $25 late fee and been charged interest on my balance — something I usually avoid by paying my card off in full each month.

I was not happy about these charges and I was also worried that my near-perfect credit score would be adversely affected if the card issuer reported my payment as 30 days late. So, here’s what I did.

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This simple move saved me $25 and maybe a lot more

After I got my credit card statement and realized my mistake, I immediately made a very important decision. I was going to call my credit card company and see what it could do for me. Specifically, I was hoping to have the fee and interest charge reversed and make sure it didn’t report me to the credit reporting agencies.

I called the customer service telephone number on the back of my card, reached a helpful customer service agent, and explained exactly what had happened and how I thought I had made the payment but forgot to follow through.

I also explained I had been a cardholder for years and suggested they check my past payment history to see that I had always paid my card off on time and in full. After explaining these details, I asked for my desired outcome.

The customer service person was fortunately very understanding and said that if I provided my details to make a full payment over the phone then and there, she would take care of the interest reversal and fee waiver and make sure no late payment was noted on my credit record.

I happily made the payment and promptly set up autopay as soon as I hung up the phone, to ensure I won’t make a similar mistake going forward.

Should you call your card issuer after a late payment?

Calling my credit card company worked very well for me, but this could have been because of my solid customer history. I charge just about every single thing I can on my credit card, which card companies like because they get fees from merchants every time the card is used. And I always pay on time, so the card issuer hasn’t had to worry about late payments from me.

Because I had a multi-year history of being a good customer, the card company was much more likely to work with me than if I was a brand-new customer or if I paid late often. But, even for good customers, card companies won’t always be as responsive as they were to me.

Still, if you miss a payment, you have absolutely nothing to lose by calling to ask for help avoiding the consequences. Just be ready to get current on your account, because it’s very unlikely your card issuer will help you out and waive the fees if you continue to be delinquent on your payment.

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