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What Happens If You Miss a Credit Card Payment?

What happens if you miss a credit card payment? I’m honestly just overwhelmed with bills right now and I’m worried I won’t be able to make my next credit card payment. I called the company already but they said they couldn’t offer me deferment or anything like that. Is there anything else I can do and how will this affect my credit?

Ashley in Ohio

There’s a small window where you can avoid credit score damage if you miss a credit card payment.

Hi Ashley,

I don’t know how much it will help, but you do have a small window where you can make the payment and avoid credit damage. Credit card companies will not report a payment as missed until it is 30 days past due. This means you have a few weeks to make the payment before the creditor will report it.

Some creditors won’t report a payment as missed until it is 60 days late if you’ve never missed a payment before. However, that is up to the creditor’s discretion. So, your best bet is to do what you can to make the minimum requirement within 30 days of your billing due date.

Keep in mind that credit score damage is not the only concern you need to have. There’s also the matter of late fees.

First, determine when you can make the payment

In your case, Ashley, you took the right first step and contacted the creditor. Unfortunately, they’re not willing to budge on outright deferment and now that COVID protections under the CARES Act have ended, they’re not required to do so. But you may still be able to get them to work with you.

First, look carefully at your budget to see when you would be able to make the payment. Then try calling the credit card company one more time. Having a set date when they could expect the payment might sway them to give you a little leeway. It’s worth a try.

If the payment will be more than 30 days late, you’ll need to make two payments

Be aware that if you are more than 30 days late with your payment, you will need to find funds to make two payments at once. You essentially need to make this payment, plus the one for the next month if you want to avoid having the creditor report the payment as missed to the credit bureaus.

That’s not including late fees. If you’ve been late before, be aware that the fees may be higher. Late fees should be outlined in your credit card agreement or you can call customer service to ask.

Call for credit counseling if you’re having trouble catching up

One last recommendation I’d make is to call (844) 912-1819 to get a free debt and budget evaluation from a certified credit counselor. From what you describe, you may be in a situation where credit counseling would be beneficial.

The credit counselor can help you develop a realistic budget based on current costs. They can also help you see how much a debt management program may help lower your total payments. If so, the program consolidates all your credit card bills into one monthly payment. Then our team works with your creditors to reduce or eliminate interest charges and stop penalties and fees.

This type of repayment plan can be immensely beneficial if you’re having trouble balancing your budget. Most creditors will even bring delinquent accounts current as soon as you make three consecutive payments on time.

Another benefit I should mention is that being enrolled in this type of program will not prevent you from getting secured loans, like a mortgage or an auto loan. So, if you’re trying to keep your credit score up because you’re planning for a major purchase like that, enrolling the program won’t hold you back.

Get a free debt and budget evaluation from a certified credit counselor.