What Happens When You’re Late

This morning I remembered I had not been checking my “list of what’s due when” (it is a list, of what is due when), so I checked it. I discovered that my Bank of America credit card payment was due today! (My brain thought it was due sometime after the next time I get some money.) But nope: Today. The minimum payment is $56. I do not have $56 at this moment. (I will soon. But not right now.)

Up until a few weeks ago, this would not have been a thing, because: Credit cards. I could either pay the bill with billpay, which would then overdraw my checking account, triggering overdraft protection that would transfer funds from my other Visa, or I could get cash from one of my other credit cards and make a payment at a Bank of America branch. These are both stupid things to do, and I won’t be doing them anymore. Though: Not because they are stupid, but because I no longer have credit cards.

Without credit cards, my options are:
1. Wait until I have the money to pay the bill.
2. Borrow $56.

I started to make a list of who I could borrow money from (recently used possibilities: Mike Dang, my friend Greg, my dad), but then I decided I didn’t particularly want to ask any of them for anything ever again.

So I decided to make a late payment. This is something I never do (I follow some rules). (Okay, I follow that one rule.) So: I thought I’d call the bank to see if there was anything else I could do to avoid having a late payment. My plan was three-fold:
1. To tell them to move my payment date.
2. To tell them to not tell the credit agencies I was late.
3. To waive my late fee.

Please note that I would be TELLING, not ASKING. (If you ask, they’ll say no. If you tell, they might also say no, but it will take longer.)

Anyway none of those things worked really but I learned some important lessons that I actually can’t believe I didn’t already know, considering I’ve been dealing with cards and card companies for My Entire Adult Life:
1. An estimated wait time of 5 minutes is in reality a wait time of 27 minutes.
2. A payment has to be 30 days late before they report it to the credit agencies (I’m really glad I never knew this before, because if making a payment a few days late only [“only”] resulted in a late fee, I would have done this all the time).
3. They can totally change my payment date, sure, but it will take two billing cycles to go into effect.
4. They cannot waive a fee that has not been charged yet (what came first, the fee or the fee waiver? alskdf)
5. But I’m welcome to call back after the fee has been assessed and protest it.
6. Calling the bank to say a payment will be late is not a very productive use of time.
7. I should probably integrate my list of what’s due when into a calendar of some sort.
8. Wanting to change your habits and writing blog posts about changing your habits are actually different then, you know, changing your habits.

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