How to Fix a Late Payment on a Credit Card

Well, as hard as I try to stay on top of my credit card payments, it is inevitable that one will be missed or forgotten. In my case it was a payment for Walmart which I never use and can’t remember why I did. Of course I forgot I even had a payment to make until it was too late.

By the way, that Walmart credit card is pretty useless. But I’ll cover that some other time.

If you are ever in a similar situation and have accidentally missed your credit card payment, it’s not the end of the world. Unless you “forget” a lot, then those late payments are wreaking havoc on your credit report.

Here are a couple fixes that have worked for me, so far:

Call the Creditor ASAP

As soon as you realize you’ve missed the due date, call the creditor on the phone. Don’t email and wait or write a letter. This will take far too much time. Call the creditor and let them know of your error (or if it’s their error, if it is) and apologize. It seems like a bunch of beggary I know, but sometimes acknowledgment and a simple “I’m sorry, I completely missed it,” go a long ways.

Ask the Credit Card Company to Remove the Late Fee

I’ve done this maybe twice and it both times they have removed any late fees. Although I am aware that it is my fault and I deserve the late fee, it doesn’t hurt to ask and has saved me some money.

Ask that the Payment is Not Reported as Late

This doesn’t always work, after all the payment was late, but you never know. Besides if you catch the missed payment early enough, it won’t be reported as late anyway.  Most companies don’t report a late payment until it is past 30 days. If the payment is still reported as 3o days late, it won’t harm your credit much. 60 days late probably will, but I doubt a payment is accidentally missed when you get to 60 days. As I noted in the beginning, if your payments are consistently late, it will damage your credit report, but one payment a year may not.

Set Up Automatic Payment

I don’t have an automatic payment set up on my cards because even though I am a strictly online person, I don’t have enough confidence in my financial situation to set up a regular monthly payment. This method of payment helps a lot of credit cardholders to stay on top of their payments though without worrying that they may accidentally miss one.

Things come up and it’s a simple mistake that I would guess is fairly common, unless you pay your credit cards off every month. I haven’t gotten to that point yet. If you’ve filed bankruptcy, you want to make sure you stay on top of your payments though to prevent ruining the credit history you’ve work so hard to repair.

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One Comment

  1. Posted November 24, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Good advice.

    It’s always the little used card that seems to get us in trouble, isn’t it? I had a similar issue with a PayPal Buyer Credit account. I’d make some small online purchase and then totally forget about it because it wasn’t an account I was accustomed to paying on a regular basis.

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