Credit Cards Credit Card Basics Billing and Payment 5 Best Times to Make Credit a Card Payment The Earlier, the Better By LaToya Irby LaToya Irby Facebook Twitter LaToya Irby is a credit expert who has been covering credit and debt management for The Balance for more than a dozen years. She's been quoted in USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, and the Associated Press, and her work has been cited in several books. learn about our editorial policies Updated on December 30, 2021 Reviewed by Khadija Khartit Reviewed by Khadija Khartit Twitter Website Khadija Khartit is a strategy, investment, and funding expert, and an educator of fintech and strategic finance in top universities. She has been an investor, entrepreneur, and advisor for more than 25 years. She is a FINRA Series 7, 63, and 66 license holder. learn about our financial review board In This Article View All In This Article 1. Before the Due Date 2. Before the Statement Closing Date 3. Early in the Billing Cycle 4. When Your Direct Deposit Hits 5. Before Making a Large Purchase Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill / Blend Images / Getty The saying “timing is everything” definitely applies to your credit card payment. Late payments come with quite a few consequences you should avoid if possible. Not only will you incur late fees if you pay past your due date, but you also risk damaging your credit and having your interest rate increased to the highest penalty rate. The timing of your credit card payment—even when you pay on time—can also impact the amount of interest you pay when you carry a balance. Paying earlier in the billing cycle can reduce the amount of interest you pay and boost your credit score in some cases. If you're trying to decide the best time to make your credit card payment, here are some guidelines. 1. Before the Due Date Making at least the minimum payment before the cutoff time on the due date will keep your account in good standing and help you avoid late payment penalties. Missing your credit card payment, even by just a few minutes, will result in at least a late fee. You may also trigger the penalty rate if your account becomes 60 days past duel, that is, if you miss two payments in a row. Late payments can also cause you to lose a promotional interest rate or forfeit any rewards you’ve earned. If you’re trying to make a last-minute credit card payment, you can pay online or by phone as long as you do so by the due date. Note There may be a fee for making an expedited payment over the phone but it will typically be lower than the late fee and you’ll avoid other late payment penalties. 2. Before the Account Statement Closing Date To ensure a lower credit card balance is reported to the credit bureaus in the current month, make your credit card payment before the account statement closing date. Having a high credit card balance updated on your credit report can raise your credit utilization and cost you credit score points. Having the best possible credit score is important if you’re planning to apply for a major loan, like a mortgage or car loan, before your next account statement closing date rolls around. Otherwise, you can ensure a lower balance is reported to the credit bureaus by first paying off your credit card. Then, once you've lowered your balance, avoid making any new credit card purchases before your next statement's closing date. 3. Early in the Billing Cycle Your due date may fall later in the billing cycle, but paying your credit card early in the billing cycle can reduce the amount of your finance charge, especially if you don’t make any other purchases during the billing cycle. That is because your credit card issuer likely uses either the daily balance or average daily balance method to calculate your finance charge. In both cases, having a lower balance for more days in the month will result in a lower finance charge. Note You can find your account's closing date and the number of days in your credit card's billing cycle on your credit card statement. 4. When Your Direct Deposit Hits Making your credit card payment right after you get paid ensures you can afford the payment and reduces the likelihood that you’ll have a returned payment—an infraction that can lead to a fee. You can send your payment even if your payment isn't due for several days, for peace of mind knowing your payment is covered. Before sending your payment, review your other bills to be sure you’re not trying to pay too much from one paycheck. If you’re paid weekly or semi-monthly, you may be able to postpone some credit card payments until your next paycheck. 5. Before Making a Large Purchase Putting a big purchase on your credit card when you already have a balance can raise your credit utilization and hurt your credit score. Paying down your balance before making big purchases can keep your credit utilization from spiking and protect your credit score from a dip. Note There are benefits to paying your credit card at earlier times in the billing cycle, but the most important thing of all is to make your credit card payment on time. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Do you still get points if you pay your credit card early? Yes. Points are based on your spending. Card issuers typically base your points on your purchases less any refunds. When you pay your bill doesn't influence when or whether you earn points. What's the difference between your statement balance and your current balance? Your statement balance is the balance as of the end of the last billing cycle. Your current balance is the amount you owe right now. These two balances can be different if you've charged additional items, had a refund or credit, or made a payment since the end of your last billing cycle. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Capital One. "What Happens If I'm Unable to Pay My Credit Card Bills?" Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Can My Credit Card Company Charge a Fee Based on How I Pay My Bill, Such as For Making a Payment Over the Phone?" Experian. "Should I Pay My Credit Card Bill Early?"