Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, people have been struggling to make ends meet and keep businesses afloat. The global crisis has already led many countries – even the leading ones, in debt as they aim to support households.
The situation, nonetheless, has seen a boost in online purchasing as it is deemed more secure. While shopping outside is discouraged, contactless, and digital payment methods with less physical interaction emerge.
Credit cards have been one’s best friend ever since and Penny Saved gathered tips on how you can properly maximize its use and avoid mortgages.
Credit cards offer important means when you’re out of budget, which implies it is a lifeline in getting basic needs during this situation. This is proof that it’s best to pay your credit bills on time.
For many reasons, late credit payments occur. While your payment history counts for 35% of your FICO score, if you’ve made a late payment, you’ve likely seen your points take a plunge. Rest assured, you can recover from it. Some credit card issuers are even letting cardholders skip payments amid COVID-19.
When do late payments fall off your credit report?
A late payment record can appear on a credit report when you fail to pay a bill on its due date. The creditor can indicate your late payment to the credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, once you’re at least 30 days delayed. It could vary, depending on when and whether you bring the account current. Here’s how:
- If you bring your account current before you’re a month behind on a payment, the creditor won’t report you as late to the credit bureaus but paying for interest charges may be required.
- If you bring an account current after the creditor declares the late payment, it will fall off your credit reports after seven years.
- If you never bring an account current, it’s likely the creditor will close it, charge off the debt, and turn it to collections.
How long do late payments stay on a credit report?
As confirmed by the three major credit bureaus, a late payment can stay on your credit reports for nearly seven years. This will cost a lot of trouble.
The time frame for a missed payment deletion begins at the date of the first delinquency and it could impact your credit scores during the whole period it exists.
It suggests if you miss a single payment, bringing the account current is needed, as the late payment will be removed from the credit report seven years from the date of the missed payment.
If an unpaid account is never again brought current and is transferred consequently to a collection agency, the principal debt and the collection account will be removed seven years from the date of the original delinquency.
Your scores will be damaged even more if you still haven’t paid the overdue amount after over 180 days, as the data could be sent to a collection agency.
How long does a late payment affect your credit?
Lenders use your payment history to weigh your risks as a borrower. Having a history showing prompt returns illustrates to lenders that you’re likely to pay your dues on time.
But with a history of overdue payments, red flags are raised to creditors. Thus, your actions impact your scores.
If you have gone through reported delinquencies, credit scores may reflect the negative information for several years. For a clearer view:
- Late payment will lead to a drastic point drop if you currently have an excellent credit score rather than a fair score.
- Missing multiple payments continuously can be worse for your credit than missing one payment.
- Making late payments on multiple accounts can be more critical than a late payment on a single account.
- The negative impact of late payments on your credit decreases over time.
How to remove late payments on your credit report?
One missed payment can lower your score immediately once reported, and as it is already included in your record, late payments could remain for a long time.
You can have them easily erased if there is an error by your lender, creditor, or the credit reporting agency. If it isn’t the case, you can file your dispute and negotiate.
We suggest writing a goodwill letter to help you avoid further damage to your credit score from late payments.
Although it can be rejected or received days late, sending a mail is the best option, especially when supported by documents, like copies of bank statements or canceled checks confirming the date you paid. You can also inform them and explain over the phone.
If there are no inaccuracies from your information, the creditor will look into your claim, study the conditions, and update your credit history to reflect on what occurred.
How do you avoid late payments?
There are different strategies in ensuring you avoid errors and a bad record from your credit card payments. Depending on bank companies, you may be able to get notices of upcoming due dates and the amount due via text, email, or app. We suggest:
- Signing up for reminders. It’s like turning your post notifications on your favorite Youtube cooking vlog account. This way, you can make payments on time as you are alerted about your upcoming fees.
- You can also sign up for automatic payments. This involves setting up bill pay from your bank account or giving the creditor the access to pull money out of your account. Make sure you have enough cash to set the payment advance for its due date. To avoid hardship, you could set up autopay for the minimum payment amount.
- If you’re not that tech-savvy, writing your due date down on your notebook or calendar is also encouraged.
You may check if any of your creditors offer a grace period if you fail to pay your bills on time. If anything, as long as you settle the statement on your credit profile within thirty days of when it is due, there won’t be negative changes on your credit.
How to get your credit for free?
The three credit bureau companies have created a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address wherein you can ask for your free annual report, the Federal Trade Commission consumer information says.
Your credit report is vital because it has the information that determines whether you can get loans for buying a property and about your current balance.
On free credit reports, the FTC assures “If you request your report online at annualcreditreport.com, you should be able to access it immediately. If you order your report by calling toll-free 1-877-322-8228, your report will be processed and mailed to you within 15 days. If you order your report by mail using the Annual Credit Report Request Form, your request will be processed and mailed to you within 15 days of receipt.”
It can further be noted that under federal law, a person is entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against them, such as denying an application for credit, insurance, or employment, and seeking a report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action.
Furthermore, a person is also qualified for one free report a year if unemployed and is planning to look for a job within 60 days; whether on welfare; or if the report is a mistake because of fraud, including identity theft. Otherwise, a credit reporting group may charge a reasonable amount for another copy of the report within a year-long period.
You can reach the bureaus at:
- Equifax:1-800-685-1111; equifax.com
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742; experian.com
- TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800; transunion.com
Understand Your Credit Card Terms
While credit cards are our buddies, bills aren’t much of it. As consumers, beyond the offers you’re given, it is your responsibility to keep up with your payments. If things get rough,
- reaching out to partners and creditors for advice can always be considered; and
- researching articles or posts about services and credit scores or from finance websites would always be a great idea.
Remember to stick to what you can only afford if it’s unlikely you can pay on time. Avoid a cash splurge just because you’ve seen flash deals and rates. During this crisis, keeping track of your acquisitions is necessary.
Above all, Penny Saved is here to assist you in your personal finance – in ways that wouldn’t affect your credit reports nor past due bills.