I was one day late – literally one day – with my credit card payment. I’ve had the card for more than 10 years, and never been late before.

But the last few weeks have been really crazy around here (sick mom and sick kid, plumbing disasters, etc.), and in all the crazy, I clicked on the wrong date when I did the bill payment for my card. I was paying the balance in full, and I clicked on the 13th instead of on the 12th.

And that teeny, tiny little mistake resulted in…

  • A $27 late fee
  • A $17 interest charge
  • An increase in my interest rate to the much higher “Penalty Rate”
  • A ding to my credit score

At first, I felt sick to my stomach…embarrassed…upset.

Then I got angry. Because I’ve been paying my bills in full, on time, every month for years. And then I’m off by one day and the credit card company goes on attack.

So I called them, waited on hold for a while, and finally got a person to talk to. I explained the situation, and politely demanded they remove the late fee, the interest, and reset my interest rate.

As of now, the $27 late fee has been removed. I’m still waiting to see what they do with the $17 interest charge and the penalty rate, along with my credit score change. And I fully intend to stay on top of this, and make them fix it all.

The truth is, we single moms have a dozen plates spinning at all times, and it’s really easy to overlook things and make tiny mistakes. And it’s also easy to just accept the consequences, even if they’re truly unfair, because we feel ashamed or overwhelmed.

If you find yourself in this situation – and I expect many of you have or will – fight back. One little oversight shouldn’t cost you hard-earned money. A one-day difference shouldn’t be allowed to trash your credit.

Take a breath, calm down, and make the call. It’s worth it to stand up for yourself.