While the first rule in earning points and miles is to always pay off your credit card balance in full each month, there’s always a chance life might get in the way and you forget to pay a credit card bill. Thankfully, I recently learned how to get a credit card late fee refunded.
Earlier this week, the same guy who has a website about points and miles and 12 credit cards (me!) accidentally missed a payment.
Missing a payment means that you will be on the hook for a $25 to $40 late fee plus interest. For a simple mistake of losing track of time, this can end up costing almost $50.
Here’s the good news: if you catch it within 1-2 days, as I did, there’s a chance you can get the late fee refunded.
I woke up to a 3 a.m. email on May 3rd telling me I had missed a payment on my Chase Freedom card. As I’ve written in our Weekly Roundup, all of my card due dates are on the first of the month for easier tracking. I quickly opened up the Chase App and paid the entire balance including the late fee.
I wasn’t as concerned about the late fee ($25) and interest ($1.41), but I was concerned about how this might affect my credit score. However, after some research, I learned that credit card companies don’t report late payments to credit bureaus until payments are 30 days late.
Once I had paid my balance and my nerves had calmed about my credit score taking a dip, I went to sleep knowing that I would try to call Chase in the morning and beg for forgiveness.
My phone call with Chase
Now we will get into how to get a credit card late fee refunded.
To first paint the picture, I have six credit cards issued by Chase as well as a checking account. I have a perfect record of payments and have been with Chase for more than five years now.
I like to think I’m a really good customer, so I was hoping to use that to my advantage. Calling the Chase Customer Support line turned out to be one of the easiest phone calls I’ve ever had.
Me: Hi there, I had a complete brain fart and missed a payment on my Chase Freedom card. I’ve since paid the balance in full less than 36 hours after the due date, but I was hoping because I’ve been a good customer with good payment history, Chase might be willing to credit back my account with the late fee.
Chase Rep: Yes, we can absolutely do that. I can also take off the $1.41 interest payment. So, we will take off the $25 late fee and the $1.41. You should see it show up on your account in a few business days.
And that was it. I thanked her, made a joke about how I would be setting up automatic payments and wished her a good weekend. I was absolutely shocked at how easy it was to get my credit card late fee refunded.
Ways to avoid late fees
If you want to avoid a middle-of-the-night freakout, here are a couple of things you can do to avoid late fees.
Set up automatic payments
For some reason, I was always against automatic payments. I like going through the process of reviewing credit card statements to make sure there aren’t any rogue charges. But, after this, I’ve added in automatic payments as a fail-safe against life getting busy.
Alerts from the bank
Another way to protect against missing a payment is by signing up for alerts with your credit card company. Among different alerts for balance, rewards, and purchasing, there are also a number of alerts for payment.
I also have text alerts turned on for purchases over $100, online and gas station payments to protect against fraud. I would suggest this for all of your credit cards.
Personal Money Management Programs
The final way to protect against missing a credit card payment is through an online money management program like Mint.
Similar to bank alerts, a program like Mint can also track when you have payments that are due and outstanding.
I learned the hard way about how to get a credit card late fee refunded. It’s important that balances are paid on time. Late fees and interest will eventually negate the value of any points and miles you have earned. And you will have to pay more!
In order to protect against having to call a credit card company and beg forgiveness, you might consider setting up automatic payments, payment due alerts from the bank, or using programs like Mint to help track your upcoming bills.
However, if you are late on a payment due to an oversight, call and ask them to waive the fee. This typically works if you’re 1-2 days late and a good standing customer.