We've all been there, myself included, unfortunately. You're living your life, minding your own business, and suddenly you see it: a credit card bill that's due soon. Very soon. So soon that there's almost no way to pay it on time.

And even if you do pay it on time, you'll have to fork over a wad of cash to do it.

That happened earlier this week to Edgar Dworsky, the skilled and savvy consumer activist behind Consumer World, a terrific consumer resource guide. He also runs MousePrint, another very useful site; it exposes the fine print in ads.

Anyway, the credit card bill to Dworsky's Mastercard, which was issued to him through MBNA, which was later swallowed up by Bank of America, got buried under papers on his desk, until he stumbled upon it.
Anxious, he looked at the time. It was after 5 p.m., and his bill was due the next day. He went to his credit card's Web site and learned that he could pay his bill on time, but it would require a $12 express fee. Not thrilled by the idea, Dworsky called customer service to see if they could waive the $12 fee.

"The agent," says Dworsky, "told me there was in fact a free way to pay my bill online." And that would be FiaEasyPay.com, which is part of Fia Card Services, a federally charted national banking association in Wilmington and one of the largest credit card issuers in the country.

They're owned by Bank of America, but they have many other cards, like the Discover More card and the Platinum Delta Skymiles credit card, so if you see anywhere on your statement Fia Card Services, I'd definitely look into paying through FiaEasyPay.

Dworsky had to enter information like his checking account number and routing number, but it was otherwise pretty painless and easy. He stayed on the phone with customer service the entire time, and five seconds after he hit "send," the agent said, "I see your payment has been made."

From what I can tell, FiaEasyPay.com isn't exactly touted by Fia-issued credit cards as a way to pay a credit card bill. I did a little tour through Google News and can't find one newspaper article that's ever mentioned FiaEasyPay.com.

What I've found on the Web itself, isn't much. Gee, it's almost like the credit card companies hope that you'll pay your bill late. But -- ha, ha -- that's ridiculous, isn't it? I mean, they wouldn't actually want us to have to fork over a lot of money in late fees and then see our interest rates go up, so we're paying them more...

OK, not exactly ridiculous.

So if this works out for you and saves you more than a few bucks, don't thank me -- thank Edgar Dworsky for bringing it to our attention.

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