Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

An All Consuming reader asked the following:

My credit card company. insists that the payment over due date is when they receive the payment at their office. I believe the post date is the date of payment made. Is there a law defining this?

- Alvin Richardson

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates most banks, has a Web site called www.helpwithmybank.gov to answer questions like this one. According to the site, the date the payment is considered late depends on the wording on your account agreement.

When you apply for a credit or charge card, the issuer must disclose when charges are due and payable, notes the Federal Reserve Board of San Francisco.

Some banks have grace periods – but, again, you need to review the super-fine print on the agreement that came with your card. Chances are your agreement says that the payment is due when it’s received by them. According to this article from SmartMoney.com, some banks have triggered consumer complaints by setting a 9 a.m. deadline on the posted payment date. Most have since pushed back their payment deadline to 2 p.m. EST, the time that most banks close and the mail has been delivered.

If your bill arrives late, your credit card issuer may tack on a late-fee penalty and bump up your interest rate. So make sure you send your payment early.


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