What happens if I make my credit card payment late?
Friday, June 19th, 2009
About paying credit card bills on time
Before you allow yourself to pay your credit card late, you should understand what it can do to your financial standing.
First, know that late payments can completely change the terms of your credit card agreement. Unless your credit card company offers a grace period, you can go from a low interest rate to a surprisingly high interest rate in the matter of just one day. You may also be hit with expensive late payment fees from your credit card company.
If your payment is more than thirty days late, regardless of the reason behind the late payment, your credit card company has the right to report the lateness to the credit reporting agencies. This may mean that you will have a ding on your credit report that can sit there for several years.
If a late payment is inevitable, such as when you are unexpectedly hospitalized or you have to go out of town for an emergency, there are certain steps that you can take.
If your credit card account is in good standing – you have always paid on time up to this point – then you may be able to receive a one-time extension from your credit card company. Call the company and explain to the customer service representative that your payment will be late, but that this is an extraordinary situation and it will not happen again. If the representative is not responsive, ask to speak to a manager.
It is likely that they will make a note of the phone call in their system and you will not encounter the late fees and all the other problems associated with a late payment. Just be sure to make this phone call before the payment is even due, because if you call after the payment is overdue they may be much less forgiving.
Avoid making late payments whenever possible. If you can make on-time payments over an extended period of time, your credit situation overall can benefit greatly.
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