The difference is probably a matter of pennies in most cases

But as Chuck and I mentioned earlier, you might as well pay earlier and have some padding to help insure against late fees. My old school of thought was that those b*s aren’t getting a dime until it’s due, but when I realized I was cheating them out of a little interest, no matter how small, my attitude changed a little.

One time where this is critical is when you are trying to pay an account off. If the account closes on the 15th with a balance of $200 and you pay them $200 on the 16th, you’re pretty much done. If you wait until the 30th of the month, they will charge interest on $100 (half a month at $200, half a month at $0, average balance is $100).

Here, you think you’ve paid the account off, and there’s a finance charge for a couple of bucks the next month. If you overlook this, next thing you know you’re paying a late fee as well. The lesson I’ve learned is, after you pay an account off, wait until the statement closing date and make sure you see a zero balance. If not, pay it off again and repeat.

Recently, I’ve seen them reverse that last few dollars of finance charge. I guess they figure it’s just going to generate more hassle and badfeelings and you’ll end up fighting them over the charges anyway. But I have been burned in the past (as you probably guessed).