What Happens When My Credit Card Payment is Late

by John_S on January 10, 2011

When your credit card payment is late, plenty of things can happen, but there are a number of ways to go about it and get the late payment off your credit report. Usually, the credit card company charges a late fee but if you don’t act quickly, the late payment may bring your credit score down. Here are the possible scenarios.

Is the Minimum Payment Covered?

Read the terms and conditions of your issuer, paying particular attention to the consequences of late payments. During one billing period, you need to at least secure money for the minimum payment as to avoid late payment charges. Its amount is calculated on the basis of a fixed rate established as a minimum. In case you cannot pay off your debt in full and on time, what you can do is pay at least the minimum. This done, you are not subject to late charges and shouldn’t worry about being reported to the credit report agencies. However, the total amount left will be charged interest. To avoid paying more interest, do your best to pay off your debt in full as soon as possible.

Number of Days Late

When a payment is late with less than ten days, your banking institution may be more lenient, depending on the frequency of late payments. If it is your first time, call the credit card issuer and explain the reasons for the delay. The credit company may agree to waive the late fee, with you being saved from reporting to the credit report agencies. However, if the payment is late for more than ten days, you may be subject to penalties and reporting.  If you are late with more than 30 days, the credit card issuer is likely to penalize you with a late payment fee and increase the interest rate for the next billing period. Your ability to obtain a new credit card will be affected as well. If that has happened already, do your best to stay up-to-date on your credit card bills. Your late payment will look like an isolated incident in this way.

Frequency

If you are late on a single occasion, discussing the issue with a company representative will work to your advantage. Due to the tight competition for market share, the credit card issuer will prefer to keep you as a client. However, if you are frequently late with payments, the crediting institution may even subject you to collections. Keep in mind that serious delays in payment will affect your overall credit score adversely. Furthermore, missing a single payment for three or more months is just as bad as collection or charge-off.

Avoiding Late Payments

To avoid late payments, make sure you set up an emergency fund. A savings account can be a good solution to this potential problem. Open an account with a bank of your choice and use the funding only when you fall behind with your credit card payments. If you don’t have other options left and are waiting for your next paycheck, try to borrow from a family member or a friend (you may also ask your employer for a cash advance).  Applying for a paycheck loan or other short-term secured loan is not recommended unless you are confident you can pay it quickly and avoid incurring interest.

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