Your bill is late if your payment is received after the statement due date. That means your credit card issuer could hit you with a late fee. Your credit is blemished too, right?
Nope. Your issuer can't report a late account to the credit bureaus until the bill is 30 days past the due date per the credit bureau reporting guidelines, says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at SmartCredit.com.
And it can't raise your rate unless you're 60 days or more past due, according to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, or CARD Act.
"I think this is one of those great secrets that a lot of consumers don't know," says Ulzheimer. "Delinquency means you've gone one full cycle late."
Also good for consumers: Issuers can't set midday deadlines for payments under the CARD Act. The new deadline is 5 p.m. on the bill's due date, says Todd Mark, vice president of education for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas.
Your issuer also must mail your bill to you 21 days before the payment date. Plus, it has to be due on the same date every month, adds Ulzheimer.
"They can't keep moving it around," he says.