How to set up autopay for all your credit cards

Jan 9, 2021

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It’s probably happened at least once to everyone here: You log into your bank account to make a payment and realize that you’ve just missed your payment deadline. Whether you were off by one day or one week, the end result is the same. Late fees and possibly even penalty APRs await those who fail to make payments on time.

Luckily, you can avoid all these messes and worries about late payments by taking advantage of automatic payments. This service, offered by essentially every bank out there, allows you to set a recurring monthly payment on your credit cards, so you’ll never have to worry about missing one again. Here’s how.

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Step one

The process for setting up autopay is fairly simple to navigate. As stated previously, nearly every card issuer offers this option to customers. To get started, you’ll need to log in to your bank account. Since I have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, I’ll use this account to illustrate how it’s done.

You can also call in to set this up if you don’t have an online account. However, creating a username and password makes accessing your information much easier for just about everything.

Step two

Once you’ve logged into your account, you’ll be taken to your account dashboard. On Chase’s website, you’ll see a list of your credit cards in the “Accounts” tab. Click on the individual card and you’ll see a pop up giving you additional information, including the ability to set up automatic payments.

The process is similar across all online accounts. From your home page, either navigate to a single credit card or click over to the payments page to find the option for autopay.

Step three

From here, you can begin to set up your payments. If you don’t already have a bank account linked for payments, you’ll need to do that now. In order to do so, you’ll need your bank account and routing numbers.

Once your accounts are linked, you can choose to set up automatic payments. When making this choice, you have a number of options for how much you’d like to pay:

While we always advocate paying your balance in full, there may be some times when you’re unable to do so. If that’s the case for you, you can always opt to choose to pay less than your balance. Your minimum payment is calculated monthly by the bank and will vary according to how much you owe, while a fixed amount is a set dollar amount that you pick yourself. Keep in mind that if your fixed amount is below your minimum payment, penalties will still apply.

While these two options aren’t as good as paying your balance in full, if you’re at least making the amount of your minimum payments, you won’t suffer things like late fees or even lost reward points. Considering that many banks charge upwards of $30 every time you make a late payment, these fees can rack up quickly.

Related reading: 5 reasons why the Chase Sapphire Preferred should be your first card

Step four

Once you’ve clicked through and set up your automatic payments, you should be good to go. Many banks take at least one billing cycle to implement your choices, so if you’ve got a payment already due, you’ll likely need to make one more manual payment. Check with your bank to be certain.

Another thing to remember is that these payments will continue indefinitely, as long as you’re charging transactions to your card and have autopay on, your bank account will be billed each month automatically. If the amount charged to your bank account is more than the money you’ve got available, you could face overdraft fees. This is especially true in times of hardship, such as an unexpected layoff.

Bottom line

Autopay is a fantastic feature offered by banks that help you avoid missing payments. Aside from incurring late fees, missed payments can negatively impact your credit score and even end up increasing your APR. Avoid all these issues by setting up your account to make automatic payments – just don’t forget you have it on!

Feature photo by oatawa/Getty Images

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