Late credit card payments happen to all of us. Sometimes life gets busy and the due date was missed or maybe it was a little bit of a struggle to come up with enough money for all the monthly bills. In any case, missing a payment could have a negative impact on your credit score. Here is some great information and steps to take as soon as you realize the bill was late:
1. Make Your Payment As Soon As Possible
If you’re late on a credit card payment or missed it altogether, don’t just wait for the next bill to come. Make a payment on your card as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the less chances it will have a negative impact on your credit score.
Here’s what you need to know about credit scores and late payments: a payment is typically reported to the credit bureaus if it’s 30, 60, or 90 days late. But if you get your payment in before that 30 days, you can rectify the situation before it hits your report.
2. Call Your Credit Card Issuer and Ask them to Waive the Fee
Believe it or not, if you were charged a fee for your late payment, there’s a good chance you can get it waived. Simply make your payment and call your credit card issuer. Tell them that it was a mistake and not one you intend to repeat, and chances are they’ll take the fee right off for you.
Here’s what not to do when you call: Don’t give a sob story. Don’t try to tug at their emotions or their sympathy. Don’t get angry. Don’t tell them all the details about your life and your finances. This won’t work.
Instead, be courteous and professional. Tell them that it was a mistake and that you have now made your payment, and since you’ve been a loyal customer for so long you’d greatly appreciate it if they remove the fee. Keep it simple and polite and your chances will be much better.
3. Make A Plan to Prevent this From Happening Again
Late payments happen to everyone – that’s one reason credit card companies are decently fair about removing fees. We all make mistakes sometimes!
But if it happens over and over again, then it will turn into a much larger problem. Continually missing payments could lead to a hike in your APR, less cooperation on fee removal, and even eventual default. If the latter happens, you’ll see a major dip in your credit score and you’ll have to deal with debt collection agencies.
A mistake happens once – but three, five, ten times is a habit. That’s why it’s important to make a plan of action now. The more you can do to prevent this from happening again, the better off you’ll be.