Friday, January 22, 2010

Should You Skip a Payment

I received my December credit card monthly statement from my credit union and the minimum monthly amount due displayed zero. When I first saw the amount I thought there was some kind of mistake. As I read further down the statement there was a note that offered me the option of skipping my December monthly payment.

It sounded good but upon further reading the skip a payment option came with a "gotcha". You could skip a payment but interest would still accrue on your balance. So, on my January statement I would pay two months worth of interest plus whatever charges I made during the next month. Well, I declined the offer and sent in a payment for my December statement.

Skipping payments only reinforces bad spending habits. It seems easy and convenient but costs you more in the long run. The longer it takes to pay off a credit card bill, the more interest and finance charges accrue. The only one benefiting is the credit card company. If you are experiencing a financial crisis and are offered a "skip a payment" option here are some things to consider.

1. Don't skip a payment if your credit card balance is 50% or above the credit limit
2. Don't skip a payment option as a solution to a financial problem
3. Don’t skip a payment if your credit card is maxed out or you are close to maxing out your credit card because the missed payment may put your over the limit and cause you to be charged an over-the-limit fee
4. Don't skip a payment more than once
5. Use the skip a payment option only if you can afford to make the minimum monthly payment
6. The skip a payment option cannot be used for balances over-the-limit

If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

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