Struggling to pay your credit cards each month? This simple gesture could help

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Some people have no choice but to carry a balance on their credit card, while generating a lot of interest. But what if you keep getting into a situation where you can’t pay your bill in full until your next paycheck arrives? If so, there may be an easy way to avoid late payments or having to carry over a balance and accrue even small amounts of interest.

When it pays to request a change

Credit card expiration dates don’t always match typical pay periods at work. You could, for example, be paid on the 30th or 31st of each month while your credit card bill is due on the 28th of the month. And that could put you in a bind, because even though you might very well be able to pay that bill in full two or three days later, you might be forced to make a partial payment on your balance until your next paycheck arrives.

If this is a situation you find yourself in, a quick call to your credit card company could bring about a positive change – a new billing cycle. Sometimes credit card expiration dates are randomly assigned. But chances are your credit card company doesn’t really care if your bills are due on the 28th of each month rather than the 31st. So if you call and ask to move the due date of your bills, chances are your credit card issuer agrees. And it could save you a world of financial stress.

Of course, in an ideal world, you would be able to pay your credit card bills each month without having to wait for your next paycheck to arrive. But unfortunately, a lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck, especially these days, with inflation being endemic. And if that’s the boat you’re in right now, it’s worth moving the due date on your credit card bill while you work to rack up some. savings to give you more leeway in the future.

You don’t ask, you don’t get

A different billing cycle due date isn’t the only thing you can ask a credit card company for. If you have an account in good standing, you can negotiate various aspects of your credit cards.

For one, you may be able to increase your credit limit if your account isn’t overdue and you’ve had it for a while. If you can report an increase in your earnings, you will further strengthen your case. But even if your salary hasn’t increased, you may still be able to increase your spending limit by requesting it.

Likewise, if you have a balance on your credit card or are worried you might have one soon, you can try to negotiate your card’s interest rate down. Your credit card issuer might agree to lower it, because that way they will make money off you, albeit a little less.

So the fact is, you never know when a credit card company might be willing to work with you to make your account better meet your needs. So if you need a change, whether it’s your billing cycle, your spending limit, or your interest rate, speak up. The worst that can happen is that you are told no. But chances are, for something as simple as changing your credit card due date, you’ll get an easy yes.

Check out The Ascent’s best credit cards for 2022

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