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How to pay your credit card bills on time each month

You can set up calendar reminders or automate payments.

Updated

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Paying your balance on time keeps your account in good standing and leads to a healthy credit report. But if you fail to pay your balance on time, you could end up being charged a late payment fee, a penalty APR and it’ll leave a stain on your credit report for the next seven years.

When is the best time to pay your credit card bill?

Your due date varies between card providers, but it’s often between 21 and 25 days after the statement is issued. By this time you must pay at least the minimum — which is between 1% and 3% of your balance — to avoid late payment fees and a penalty APR.

But if you only make the minimum payment, you will start accruing interest on your remaining balance, which is the standard APR on purchases, often ranging between 15% and 28%. The only way to avoid paying any fees or interest is to pay your balance before the due date.

How to pay your credit card bill on time

These tips are key to maintaining a good credit card payment history.

  1. Work with a budget.
    Create a budget to factor your credit card payment into your regular expenses so you have enough set aside to pay your bill by the due date. To avoid excessive interest charges, always aim to pay more than the minimum required each month.
  2. Change your payment due date.
    If it’s a matter of streamlining your finances, you may want to request a change to your statement due date. Some card issuers let you move your statement date closer to your payday.
  3. Use autopayments.
    You can set up autopayments for the minimum, full or a partial amount of your credit card balance each billing cycle. With this service, your transaction account is automatically debited to pay your credit card on the same day every month.
  4. Modify your payment frequency.
    If you get paid weekly or biweekly, you may want to make a payment on your credit card as soon as that money lands in your bank account. This could help you stick to your budget by taking away the temptation to spend more money before your due date.
  5. Set calendar reminders and use online banking services.
    Take the time to set up calendar notifications and download banking applications so you’re informed about your finances. Check to see what options your credit card company provides and opt-in if you often forget to make a payment on time.

How much do I have to pay every month?

guy in denim holding a credit card
You can choose to pay the following amounts:

  • Your full closing balance
  • The minimum payment due each month
  • A set amount of, for example, $25 or $50

Compare credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
Get 3% cash back on groceries on up to $6,000 annually (then 1%) with no annual fee. This is a simple and effective rewards card. Rates & fees
Chase Freedom Flex℠
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
15.99% to 22.99% variable
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $$1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
N/A
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$0
An impressive 18 months intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as no annual fee make this one of the top 0% APR cards available.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$95
Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $250. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Rates & fees
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Compare up to 4 providers

What are the benefits of paying your credit card bill on time?

There are three main reasons you should be paying your credit card bill on time. Of course, these also apply if you pay your credit card bill early:

  • No late payment fee.
    Make your credit card payment by the statement due date and you’ll avoid the late payment fee.
  • Save on interest.
    Paying your entire credit card balance will help you avoid APR on purchases. Keep in mind, cash advances don’t have a grace period of up to 25 days, so try to pay them as soon as reasonably possible.
  • Improve your credit score.
    Maintain a good payment history to keep your credit report healthy.

How to make credit card payments

Credit card companies make it easy to pay your credit card balance using online banking and other options. These payment details are listed on your statement. Here are a few ways you could make credit card payments:

  • Internet banking.
    Link your credit card, transaction account or savings account using Internet banking. You can make credit card payments with a couple of clicks.
  • Mobile app.
    Most banks offer mobile apps where you can monitor your accounts and make balance payments.
  • Autopay.
    Download and complete an autopayments form to debit funds from a nominated transaction account.
  • At a branch.
    Make a cash or check payment in person at a branch.
  • By post.
    You can send a check in the snail mail to the address listed on your credit card statement. This is a lengthy process and there’s a chance you’ll incur late payment fees if your check doesn’t clear in time.

Bottom line

Paying your credit card bill is important, but there are many reasons why you may not be able to pay it on time each month. Whether it’s debt troubles, forgetfulness or an unexpected event, putting these tips into practice can help you get on top of your balance payments every month.

Now that you know how to pay your credit card bill on time, make sure you choose the right credit card for your needs by comparing your options.

Pictures: Getty Images

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