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How to pay a credit card bill

A step-by-step lesson on how credit card payments work

Summary

Here are the different ways you can pay your credit card bill. Whether it’s online, in-person, via app or by mail, we have the information you need.

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Everyone knows you should pay your credit card on time each month, and preferably in full.

But not everyone knows exactly how to make a payment.

The good news is, there are multiple ways to pay your credit card bill – and they are outlined right here.

Keep reading to find out when to make your credit card payments and familiarize yourself with the different payment methods you can use.

When should I pay my credit card bill?

Simply put, you must pay your credit card bill each month by the due date.

If you can, always pay the full statement balance each month – that way, you won’t be charged interest on any of your purchases.

If you can’t pay your full statement balance, always make at least the minimum payment, and try to pay off the rest before your next payment date.

If you have your account on autopay for the minimum balance due and you’ve made some large purchases one month, don’t forget to pay more to supplement your autopay.

Should I pay my bill early?

It’s a given that making late credit card payments can really ding your credit score. On the flip side, making your payments early – by a week or two – might boost your score.

This is because when you pay before your billing cycle ends, it reduces your balance that the issuer reports to the credit bureaus. And that lowers your credit utilization, or the amount of credit you’re using divided by your total available credit limit. Since credit utilization counts for a whopping 30% of your FICO score, lowering it can really make a difference in your score.

Should I pay my bill multiple times a month?

Making multiple credit card payments each month can benefit you in a few ways. First, it will keep your credit utilization in check. If you pay multiple times per month, you won’t be making any late payments, which means you won’t be paying any late fees. And by not making any late payments, you’ll be helping to keep your credit score healthy.

Should I pay more than the minimum?

By paying more than the minimum due on your credit card, you not only keep your credit utilization ratio down – which as we discussed, will likely improve your credit score – you’ll also pay down your balances faster. And that can result in paying less interest while you’re improving your score.

Ways to pay your credit card bill

You have several options when it comes to making a payment on your credit card. Choose the one that best fits your needs:

Pay online or via mobile app

Perhaps the easiest way is to make a payment online – you simply log into your account (or app) and choose how much you want to pay from whatever account you have linked to the card. If you have the app downloaded on your smartphone, you’ll go through the same process.

Set up autopay

Another easy way to pay is to “set it and forget it” – use autopay to make your payments each month and you’ll never forget. Just set up autopay on your bank’s website and choose a date and amount for your payment each month. You can choose to pay the minimum, a fixed amount or the balance in full.

But be careful with autopay – make sure you monitor your account and consider activating alerts to remind you when it’s due and when it posts. You can also set up an alert for when your balance goes above a certain point. And, of course, make sure you have enough in your bank account to cover the payment.

Pay by phone

You can also call your bank and make a payment to your credit card – all you have to do is confirm your payment method and the number of your credit card account.

Pay in person

If you don’t like to make payments online, you can always go to the nearest bank branch (or ATM) of the credit card issuing bank and pay.

Mail in your payment

Another alternative is to mail your payment in to your issuer. You can typically find the mail-in address online, or you can call to get it. Make sure you never send cash and always write your account number on your check.

If you choose this method, make sure you account for the extra time it will take, for both the mailing and processing, and mail your payment accordingly.

Tips for paying a credit card bill

The easiest way to pay on time is to use autopay and make at least the minimum monthly payment. This will keep your account in good standing.

If you pay your statement balance each month (your total charges in the last billing cycle), you’ll avoid paying interest.

Paying the current balance (the total amount you’ve charged to date) isn’t necessary to avoid interest and fees but it will lower your credit utilization ratio, which can help improve your credit score.

If you want to pay more than the minimum due on your bill but you can’t pay off your entire statement balance, you can also pay a custom amount on your bill each month.

Bottom line

Before you make a credit card payment, review your bill so you know exactly what you owe – and how much you need to pay.

According to Experian’s website, your credit card statement will provide you with the due date (when your payment must be received by the issuer), your balance (the amount you must pay to avoid interest charges) and what your minimum payment is (how much you have to pay to keep your account in good standing).

Always remember that a late credit card payment could wreak havoc on your credit score, and your issuer can report it to the credit bureaus as late if you don’t make it within 30 days of the due date.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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