When Convenience Fees Can Help You Save
By Shannon M. Medisky
Sure, ideally you’d be able to pay everything right when the bill comes. But, sadly, in this economic climate that ideal can be very far from reality. The good news is, though, that opting to fork over a usually nominal convenience can often help you save even more money than if you didn’t as well as help save your sanity at the same time. And your sanity, after all, is priceless. If you’re ready to take better control of your finances – no matter how little may be at your current disposal – then keep reading.
Pay for the convenience of choosing your due date. Maybe you get paid at the beginning of each month, maybe at the end or maybe twice monthly. Chances are, though, that you’ve got one, two or even many bills that come due at dates that are less than convenient in relationship to your pay day. If this is the case, you may be able to change the due date with a simple phone call and a polite request. Sometimes such requests are granted for completely free and other times a nominal fee (either one-time or ongoing) may be charged, but knowing you can pay your bill on time when it comes around is a huge weight of your shoulders, mind and checkbook.
Pay for the convenience of paying, PRONTO! I’m saddened to admit I’ve been there. Who hasn’t let a bill slip by until – enter appropriate gasp here – you realize it’s due, or worse, past due. The good news is that opting to pay a small convenience charge for the ability to pay immediately over the phone or online can often save you even more money than if you hadn’t. After all, late fees are far more expensive, not to mention the negative impact late payments can have on your overall credit history. If you’re stuck with the choice between of convenience fee or a late charge, the prior is almost always less expensive than the latter. (Check first, though, with your creditor as there may be grace period in effect that can buy you time so-to-speak allowing you skip the convenience fee entirely and still submit your payment without incurring a late fee.)
Pay for the convenience of piecing it out for payment. If you’ve got a hefty balance, chances are very good that it’s not only causing you mental stress, but financial stress as well. Unfortunately, no amount of wishing or even worrying it away will work. You may, however, be able to come to an agreement with the creditor to divide your current balance up into smaller payments to be parceled out and paid along with newly accrued charges for a small fee. When you consider the extreme costs of payday loans or cash advances, a small convenience charge instituted by a creditor may seem like small change in comparison. Not only that, you’ll actively be paying down the balance without having to stretch yourself too financially thin. (This payment option may actually be available for completely free depending upon the company or creditor. A quick phone call and an honest, polite request can often reveal a wealth of financial options you may not have even known you had.)
Photo credit: Photos_By_Jenn
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