An Insider's Trick to Avoiding Late Fees

Stack of late bills
Stack of late bills

Here's the scenario: You're in the elevator, or perhaps the office, when the smartphone dings (or vibrates or whatever you have it set to do). It's one of the notices you set up with your bank, where you do most of your business online. The credit card bill is due – tomorrow. Or maybe the mortgage. Or the car loan. And, for whatever reason, you haven't paid it. What do you do?

Well, the first thing you should do is call the biller. If you're never late, they may be willing to give you a few days grace. They may also (assuming this is not a credit card bill) be able to take immediate payment over the phone at no charge. But sometimes these aren't options. Then, you likely have a $35 late fee staring you in the face.