If something unusual happens to you one month, it's a good idea to approach your creditor.
"If you happen to get in a bind and make one late payment for a good reason, ask your lender to give you a goodwill adjustment of your late fee. Obviously that doesn't work if you are habitually late," says Ulzheimer.
You can also avoid late fees by calling up before the due date to request an extension for many regular expenses such as the phone, electric and insurance payments.
If you find payment timing to be the problem, call to request a different monthly due date that better matches the timing of your paycheck to avoid late fees, says Frank.