I guess it's more of a psychological thing for me, but once I get my credit card statement I'd rather pay it immediately than wait around for the final due date. Is there any drawback to doing so. I typical do have the cash available to pay when the statement is released - and even if I don't, I usually get it by the time the statement is actually due so I could just pay multiple times.
The math depends on your average bill, days before it's due, and interest you'd earn. Say you have a $2000 bill each month. At 1%, there's an annual $20 or 40 cents per week you'd save by delaying the payment. If you pay on line and can hit the due date dead on, no reason to pay sooner. But if you risk the mail being late, the late fee and interest will negate the savings on a hundred months of last minute payments. Hardly worth the risk, IMHO.
Edit - to clarify, the delayed payment with the above numbers saves the 40 cents or about $5/yr. scale it up with higher average balances or with a higher return on your savings account.
If you have a credit card with no interest free period, there is no drawback as you will be saving interest the sooner you pay it off.
However, if you have a credit card with an interest free period, the drawback on paying it earlier than the due date (such as when you first get the statement) is that you lose out on interest. For the period between when you first recieve the statement to when it is due, you could have your money earning you interest in a high interest paying savings account. Depending on how much you spend on your credit card each month and the interest rate you get, this may add up to quite a bit of additional cash each year.
Remember, carrying debt on a credit card and waiting to pay it is increased risk in the event something happens and you can't pay it off. I have 1 CC and I have it set to auto-pay on the day it's due (paid in full each month as I don't carry debt anymore - learned that lesson a hard way :) ).
So the day it's due it auto-drafts out of my checking. No worries of late payments, missed payments, etc.
If you feel that having any balance is bad then by all means pay it off the minute you get your statement. It should come at the same time each month (or close to the same time) and you should be able to setup an auto-payment to pay it off in full as soon as the new statement goes live.
To be honest, those extra few days of supposed interest saved by keeping the money in your checking account is so minimal that's it's probably not worth it. Most checking is horrible in interest (all my 'high interest' checking accounts are now less than 1% APR. boo.) and if you're late 1 day then bam! All that earned interest is gone in 1 late fee...
Just to put in one more possibility: my credit card can have a positive balance, in which case I earn interest. If more money is due, it will automatically take that from the connected checking account. If that goes into negative, of course I have to pay interest.
I chose (argued with the bank in order to get) only a small credit allowance. However, I'll be able to access credit allowance + positive balance. That allows me within a day or so to make larger amounts accessible, while the possible immediate damage by credit card fraud is limited at other times.
Actually, the credit card pays more interest than the checkign account. Nevertheless, I don't keep high balance there because the risk of fraud is much higher for the credit card.
Remember that if you make charges as the starting of your billing cycle, then you are receiving a free ~60-day loan. For those that are able to receive high interest rates on their, this means a greater opportunity to earn on their money.
Your billing statement ends on Jan 5th. On Jan 6th, you max out your credit card. Your billing statement ends on Feb 5th. Depending on your credit card, your grace period can be anywhere from 20 to 30 days. If your bill is due Mar 7th, you just gave yourself a free 60 day loan.
If you have multiple credit cards with different due dates and long grace periods, you can rotate which cards you max out to optimize the money you keep in savings.
Some credit card rewards programs will not give you rewards for balances paid off early. I have a Capitol One Platinum card, and once paid off the full balance; both the full amount due for the recently ended billing period, and the amount that had accrued for the current billing period. I never received any reward points for the additional amount. Though this sounds like it's paying even earlier than you're talking about.