As if more evidence were needed that my current job is taking up way too much of my time, I missed the payment due date on my Citibank Mastercard bill for January. I must have forgotten and deleted the email notice they sent me, because I ended up catching the bill that was due on February 16th on Sunday the 18th, so the soonest I could pay the bill with my bank account was on Monday, February 19th.
Take note — I paid three regular days, or one business day, late. A few days later my charges appeared. On a total balance of $802.87, I’d incurred a late fee of $39 and a finance charge of $8.09, or $47.09 total, which amounts to 5.87% of the balance! As someone who always pays credit cards balances in full and on time, I was pretty shocked to see those figures, and my immediate reaction was to realize how much money so many people out there must be paying to credit card companies in the form of fees and charges.
My second reaction was to remember a post from Ramit several months ago, in which he talked about how it never hurts to ask banks to waive fees. What’s the worst they can say?
So, I called up Citibank, explained I’d recently started a new job and must have overlooked their billing notice email, pointed out that I’d never been late on a payment before, and asked if they could possibly consider waiving my late fee and finance charge this once. And believe it or not, they obliged. Customer service representative: “Let me see what I can do for you….[pause]….Good news. I was able to get the late fee and finance charge waived for you.”
Of course, they also took the opportunity to try upselling me on some service that would help me in case I paid late again, but I politely declined.
Now I just need to find a way to get back to being organized with the rest of my personal finance and investing life like the way I had it before….