Balance Due vs. Payment Due Date (for bills)

I pay most of my bills online these days, although I still get paper bills through the mail and I generally try to schedule payment a couple of days before the due date marked on the bill. However, I sometimes get emails shortly before this day arrives, telling me that I have a “balance due” on my account. Indeed, I got one today:

It goes on to display what I owe, and to display the “Payment Due Date” as November 13th (not 9th), just as it was on the paper bill.

Can anyone explain to me the difference between the date at which my balance becomes due, and the payment due date? They sound as if they ought to be the same to me. Could I be harming my credit score (or anything like that) by allowing balances to become due, even though I am faithfully paying before the “payment due date”?

It sounds like it’s a reminder that as of Nov 9th you have a balance due and the payment day is close so you need to pay it by then.

Er, yeah, I got that much.

The balance due becomes the balance due the day they bill you. It is “past due” payments that will cause you credit problems and I don’t think those even get reported until they are 30 days late, although late fees may be incurred if the payment is 30 nanoseconds late.

But I get a bill by snail mail long before I get the email telling me it is now past the time when my balance is due. In this case, I got the paper bill a couple of weeks ago (saying payment is due on Nov 13), and I got the email today saying my balance due from the 9th.

That is what I was hoping. Phew!

No, you got a bill telling you that you owe them money. The fact that you then later got a reminder saying that the amount was due as of November 9 is irrelevant. They could send you that reminder every single day and update the “as of” date, they just don’t because it would tie up their resources to do so. What matters isn’t the “as of” date, what matters is the “due date.”

As stated above, it’s due the minute they tell you you owe them. The November 13 date is the last date you can pay it before they consider it “past due.”

But the email (sent, apparently at just before 6a.m. on the 9th) says very specifically that my account has had a balance due “As of Tuesday November 9 at 3 AM.” (Other similar emails from other utility companies are similarly specific.) Are you telling me that that very specific date and time mean nothing whatsoever? Could they equally truly have said (on Nov 9th) “as of 8.40PM on 11/8” or “as of 7.57AM on 10/29”? To me, “as of time t” means “since, but not prior to, time t.”

That is more or less what I have always assumed (although it is confusing to think of a payment as being “due” before the “payment due” date). It is the “balance due as of” thing that I do not understand.

Perhaps this is my fault for expecting “Business English” to make any sense. :frowning:

They’re only the same if your payment is due on receipt of the bill. If your payment is due 30 days after the invoice date they will be 30 days apart.

For example:

I send you an invoice for $100 dated Oct 10 on Oct 10 will a due date of Nov 10. You now have a balance due of $100, which is current, and due on Nov 10. Until you pay the $100 you will always have a balance due of $100. After Nov 10 you will have a past due balance.

You’re mistaken. “as of” means “on” or “at”. There’s absolutely no indication that one way or the other whether anything was owed prior to that time. “You owe me $100 as of November 10th” does not imply you did or did not owe any money on any other day than Nov 10.

An email sent at 6 AM on the 9th telling you that you have a balance due “as of 3 AM on the 9th” is telling you “right now, this is your balance.” The fact that it took 3 hours between the time their computer processed your reminder email (and everyone else’s) and sent it (and everyone else’s) really is negligible. It is a reminder to pay your bill and nothing else.

“As of [date]” means that the last time they looked, your balance was [amount]; the date just tells you when that was. They include that because some charges may have accrued since your last statement, and additional charges may accrue after they send the statement.

Generally, all bills are due and payable immediately; what they call the “due date” is actually the end of a grace period, the date after which the bill becomes “past due.”

My opinion, without any other information, is that this is a technique to encourage faster payment. If they say “You owe us money. Pay us.” you are less likely to pay as quickly as if they say “You owe us money. Pay us by the 13th.” It’s primarily psychological. People react differently to vague deadlines than they do to specific ones, even if the specific deadline is arbitrary. (i.e. “I’ll lose 10 lbs” is less likely to be achieved than “I’ll lose 10 lbs by Christmas.”)

It could be that the second date is when the company starts collections, assesses a late fee or something like that.

The “as of” date is just stating a balance at that time. Most companies do it because you might not receive the letter until the 11th, and you might have paid the bill in the meantime.

I think your reading too much into it. It is nothing more than a reminder.

Think of it like this

When I charge $100 I have $100 due TO THE COMPANY. The date I must pay it is the DATE DUE.

On Nov 8th at 3pm I had a balance due on this account, but so what? I just didn’t get an email at that point. On Nov 10 at 3pm I will have a balance due. Again so what. This isn’t a request for payment it’s a reminder.

The reason they do this is people often set up auto payments.

So let’s say I set up an autopayment to pay off the bill on the 8th. I get that note on the 9th and it says “Balance due.” Well then I know something went wrong, because on the 8th the autopay should’ve kicked in and paid it off.

Also lots of people make many payments. They may make two payments to their credit cards a month. This is their way of double paying to get the balance down faster.

That is just a reminder to pay, in case you haven’t. It’s an informational statement.

I haven’t read all the posts, so this may have been answered, but in accounting speak “balance due” is another way of saying “you owe us money” if it said “you have a balance due of xxx” it means “you owe us xxx.”
Payment due is the minimum payment.

The e-mail is just a reminder. The company has determined that by sending out e-mail reminders, their collections improve.

I can concur with this from personal experience. Way back in the late Cretaceous, when I was in charge of sending out the monthly Friends of the Library calendar of events for the library that I worked at then, I noticed that our mailing labels had room for 5* lines of text and we were only using 4** lines for the address. I added a line above the name that said "Your Friends of the Library membership expires on " and their expiration date, or (if their membership expired that month) “Renew your Friends of the Library membership today!” or (if their membership had already expired) “Your Friends of the Library membership has expired!”

Renewal rates for Friends memberships doubled.

  • or maybe it was 6
    ** and maybe this was 5