If you have an American Express charge card, you may have encountered the now infamous “Please Pay By” date on your credit card statement.
According to the American Express website, “This is when we request you make your payment to American Express.”
So what does that actually mean? This is when they request it? The word request means to “ask politely,” to plead or even demand. But is it a demand, or just a plea?
Well, it’s just a plea as it turns out, because American Express doesn’t actually demand that you pay by the Please Pay By date. That’s probably why they include the word “please.”
Usually when you ask someone to do something that is voluntarily, you include the word “please” as a means to get what you want. But there are no assurances the individual will do as you please.
The same seems to go with the American Express Please Pay By date. It’s simply a date they’d like you to pay your credit card balance by, even referred to as a “suggestion.”
And the Please Pay By date is actually 15 days from your statement closing date. In reality, you get more than 15 days to pay your balance in full to avoid a penalty.
So When Is Your Payment Really Due?
You’re probably wondering when the real payment due date is then, right? Since the Please Pay By is merely a suggested date, there must be an actual due date.
I’ll spare you the suspense, there is. And it’s the following statement’s closing date. In other words, when your next month of charges finishes, you should have paid the previous month’s charges in full.
This basically gives you a month to make your payment in full.
I chatted with an Amex rep myself and was told, “On charge cards, the due date is always the statement closing date.”
They mean the following statement’s closing date, not the immediate one, as you’d have no grace period to pay.
When I inquired about the Please Pay By date, I was told, “Please Pay by date for your account which is just a gentle reminder for the payment.”
I asked why the gentle reminder, and was told it was to “make sure the payments are made on a timely basis.”
So when should you actually pay? Well, waiting until the very last day probably isn’t wise in case something goes awry and the payment is delayed for some reason.
I also believe there is a cutoff time of 8PM MST, so if you schedule your payment too late in the day, it could be considered late, even just by minutes.
The takeaway here is that you have more time to pay than you may realize, but probably shouldn’t push it to the brink.
To get a better idea of your actual payment due date, you can check when your next statement will close. Then you’ll know when you must pay, not just when you should please pay.
For American Express revolving credit cards, such as the Everyday Card and the Blue Cash Everyday Card, there is an actual due date printed on the statement (as pictured above). So no confusion there…