Your Credit Card Company Won't Tell You This, but We Will

By Nathan Hamilton Markets Fool.com

Credit cards can be powerful financial tools in the hands of savvy cardholders. Not only can cardholders avoid interest charges and earnbig credit card sign-up bonuses, but managing credit card spending well can also help to increase your credit score.

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Yet, it's also easy to fall short of budgeting goals and get into hot water as payments come due.

In the following video segment, Motley Fool analysts Michael Douglass and Nathan Hamilton talk about one right cardholders have if they're carrying credit card debt and are having trouble paying on time.

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Michael Douglass: So you have a right that your credit card company, generally, is going to not want to mention to you. That is the right to getting one late payment fee, each year, waived. Let's talk about it.

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Nathan Hamilton: Yeah. Your credit card company won't necessarily tell you this. They won't mention it in their marketing materials or in their large font as a headline. But a right we have as consumers coming out of the 2008 financial crisis is that we have the right to waive one late payment fee each year.

You may want to think through actually making your payments, because that does affect your credit score if you are doing so consistently. When you miss a credit card payment it can have a huge impact on your credit score. But if you do fall into the scenario where you do miss that payment, you can just call up your bank, request one late payment fee to be waived. Which, generally, you're going to be around $30 or more for that fee. For most people, that's a pretty meaningful chunk of change out of their account.

Douglass: Yeah. When you think about it, let's say it's a 15- or 20-minute call, 30 bucks. I don't know about you, but I'm not making 90 bucks an hour. That sounds pretty good to me. We've got a lot of meaningful, helpful credit card tips. Whether it's this sort of stuff about fees, whether it's thinking about your credit score and what you can do to boost it, or whether it's just finding the best credit cards for you so that you can make sure that your money, when you're spending it, is paying you back as much as possible.

We've got all that information and more on fool.com/credit cards. Again, that's fool.com/credit cards. I look forward to seeing you there. Nathan, thanks much.

Hamilton: Thank you.

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