The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Credit Card Alerts

December 15, 2006

How do you remember to pay your credit card bills?

Some credit card companies have a service that alerts you to key events in the cycle of your credit card bill. I use these alerts for one of my credit cards and have had mixed results.

The Good
The best alerts come 7 days before the bill is due. These alerts are very helpful, just enough time to login to my online bill pay account and setup a payment for the credit card bill. I call them the best alerts because I know I haven’t spent any money yet 🙂

I am also alerted when my credit card payment clears or if I am late paying my bill. The late payment alert can be valuable but it can also lead to problems, more later on.

The Bad
The alerts can be setup both as automated phone messages and as text messages. At first I was receiving both. Although my cell phone plan is a great deal, it doesn’t include text messages so Sprint PCS was charging me 10 cents per alert! I quickly turned that feature off.

The Ugly
My bad experiences with the credit card alerts have been due to technical problems and my over-dependence on technology. Over time I became somewhat reliant on the 7-day alert to remind me to pay my bill.

Wouldn’t you know, one month the trusty 7-day alert never came and I completely forgot to make the payment. Of course the late payment alert saved the day. I was only a day late and able to talk the company out of the late payment fee.

This month, I received a late payment alert on Sunday afternoon. Monday morning I set up an immediate electronic payment. Later I discovered the alert was an error. They did receive my first payment so I had paid my bill twice! Of course they won’t send the money back it just goes as a credit towards future purchase. Unfortunately now I don’t have the money in the right account to pay my other credit card bill so I’ll have to do some quick cash transfers.

Overall, the alerts have been more of a help than an issue. As long as I don’t become dependent only on the alerts to remember the payments, they are a good tool to manage my credit card payments to avoid late fees and interest charges.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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4 Responses to The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Credit Card Alerts

  • Joe

    Late payments due to technology errors are never fun. If there ever is an issue and you can show it was on their end, undoubtedly it’d get treated as an on-time payment…otherwise time to ditch them for a different card.

    How many different cards did you try the services out on?


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