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CREDIT card customers are being stung with hefty charges for being just one day late making a payment.

London journalist Steve Richards was hit with a pounds 15 charge three months running because his payment cheques were late reaching RBS Advanta. "When I complained that these charges were excessive and unfair I was told that other card firms charge more."

Steve decided he'd had enough, cut up his card and switched to another provider. But that wasn't the end of it. "I thought I had transferred all my balance," he says, "but I was hit with another pounds 15 late payment charge for a purchase I made before cutting up my card."

Almost all card firms impose these penalties. But, as Steve discovered, it is all too easy to get caught by them.

That's because to avoid the late payment charge they must have received your cheque and it must have been cleared by the bank - which can take four more working days. So even if you send off your cheque in good time, you can be hit because of a delay at the Post Office or in the banking system.

In our view these charges are outrageous. For, as Steve also discovered, they also charge you daily interest on the overdue amount. So you are in effect being charged twice.

MIRROR MONEY ADVICE: Switch to card providers such as Saga or Liverpool Victoria which don't charge for late payment. The best way to avoid late payment is either to pay your credit card bills by setting up a regular direct debit.

That's what Steve is dong with his new egg card account. Or, if you bank by phone or internet, you can arrange payment on the due date as soon as your bill arrives.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 15, 2001
Previous Article:Banks are out for the accounts; WHY IT PAYS TO SWITCH.
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