When getting ready to go on vacation, people often make lists of things to do: what to pack, who to leave keys with so pets can be fed and mail picked up, where to go to check in for their flight. But one thing that may not make the list is which bills to pay before going away.
That can mean coming home to overdue bills, late fees, or even damaged credit reports. To keep this from happening, Citi Cards has issued a list of tips for summer travelers. Their recent Citi Simplicity survey showed that 16% of people have cited being on vacation as the reason they missed a payment due date in the past.
Before you jet off to that exotic beach, load up the car for a road trip, or head into the woods to camp out, make a note of these suggestions:
- Set up automatic bill payments. Almost all credit card issuers offer the option of signing up for auto payments. This ensures that your minimum payments will always be made on time as long as there is enough money in your checking account to cover the payment.
- Pay bills in advance. If you can swing it, go ahead and pay those bills before you leave. It will give you peace of mind knowing the bills are paid—and you may have a better idea of what you can afford to spend while on vacation.
- Take advantage of mobile account management tools. Unless you are far away from electricity and Internet connections, you will most likely be able to use mobile payment tools on your smartphone or tablet to pay your bills. You can check balances, see transactions and keep track of spending this way.
- Pick your own due date. Citi Simplicity, as well as many other credit cards, let cardholders choose their own due date. It usually takes one billing cycle for your new due date to go into effect, so this is not something you can change at the last minute. But plan ahead, and you can ensure the due date for your card does not fall during vacation.
- Set up alerts. Almost all credit cards offer alerts by text or email. Have a reminder sent to your inbox or phone so you don’t miss a payment date no matter where you are. You can choose how far in advance you’d like to be alerted, and you can also get a notice when payments post.