There’s at least one day in every calendar month that you probably dread, which is none other than your due date for paying bills. Bills are a huge part of expenses that you need to pay on time, although everyone knows that this isn’t always possible.
For one, you may not be able to settle all of your bills when you’re going through personal finance hardships. A period marked by pandemic can also lead to an economic recession, which may affect your ability to earn when your job or business suffers financial losses.
Thankfully, if you don’t have enough cash, you can use your credit card to pay your bills. With a credit card, you can pay your most urgent bills and wait for a month or so for your credit card statement. At this point, you’ll need to pay off the principal amount you borrowed with the corresponding credit card fees.
Although credit cards can serve as a lifeline to help you meet basic needs for yourself and your family, there’s no changing the fact that using your credit card also means making monthly payments to your credit card company.
How Does a Credit Card Work?
Credit cards work like cash that you can use to buy goods or services, except that you don’t carry the money with you. Instead, you swipe your credit card in stores. Every time you use your card, the amount in your credit limit decreases, but it replenishes again with every payment you make.
A good way of controlling your credit card spending is by trying to pay off existing charges on your card first before making more purchases, which will only increase your credit card dues. In fact, one of the main reasons for debt stress is credit cards, especially if you keep paying only the minimum amount due.
In such a case, you’re not really making payments toward the principal amount, but your payments only go toward the interest. As a result, you’re unable to bring down your total debt amount, and since the interest is computed based on your outstanding balance, your credit card debt continues to swell.
Advantages of Using a Credit Card
Being a responsible credit card owner does come with benefits, which is why a lot of people are encouraged to apply for one. If you own a credit card, you’re practically never out of cash since you can use it for everyday purchases like groceries, gas, medicine, and other shopping essentials.
Major purchases are another great reason to own a credit card. If you’re trying to book a flight online, you’ll probably need a credit card to complete the purchase with the travel agency or the airline.
Here are more reasons to own a credit card:
- You can earn rewards with a rewards credit card. As the name implies, this type of card lets you earn rewards for making purchases, which may be in the form of rebates or cashback, discounts with selected stores, or travel miles. You can then redeem your rewards once you have enough, which can help you save on some purchases.
- You can increase your purchasing power. Your bank account may not always have the funds you need, so your credit card becomes your next best resource, providing you with the money you need anytime you need it.
- You can build your credit. Banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions look at your credit history when deciding whether to give you a loan or not. As long as you are in good standing with your credit card provider, your chances of being approved for a loan or other credit products become higher.
What to Do If You Miss a Credit Card Payment
Despite your best efforts to keep a good credit standing, the unthinkable happens: You miss your credit card payment. What steps can you take to avoid paying credit card fees? The answer to this varies on where you are. Missing a credit card payment in Singapore, for example, can be avoided with these tips.
- Review your billing cycle
If you own more than one credit card with different companies, it’s likely that they don’t follow the same billing cycle. The problem with this is that it can be challenging to track which card you need to pay and when.
Fortunately, providers in Singapore are accommodating when it comes to requests from credit card owners to change the billing cycle. Just call your bank and let them know if you would rather move your due date. It all depends on you as to how far apart or how close you want your credit card due dates to be with one another, as long as you’re confident that you can manage the schedule of payment well.
- Automate your credit card payments
Singapore’s GIRO is an automated electronic service that allows you to make monthly payments to any billing organization (BO), such as your credit card company.
Since GIRO automatically deducts from your bank account whatever amount is due to the BO upon its request, you’ll never have to miss any payment ever again. This saves you from the stress of incurring late payment charges or having your credit card suspended by your provider.
- Call your bank
Instead of waiting for your bank to call you, take the initiative and call them to negotiate waiving of fees for your late payment. Needless to say, you should try to maintain a credit score of AA to get the bank to honor your request.
Save these hotline numbers for when you need to call your bank in Singapore:
Standard Chartered: 1-800-747-7000
American Express: 1-800-235-6755
Proper Credit Card Management
When used properly, your credit card can be an important source of funds for minor and major purchases alike. Proper management also increases credit card companies’ confidence in your ability to pay, so they’re more likely to appreciate their relationship with you and make you eligible for payment extensions during particular circumstances.