Imagine finding a credit card bill you forgot to pay. Even if you make most of your payments on time, don’t brush it off as “no big deal.” Because even one late payment can cost you THOUSANDS of dollars! Here’s why:
- Late fee. Which can cost $35 for a missed payment. Along with interest slapped on your existing balance.
- Interest rate hike. A lot of banks raise your card’s interest rate the moment you miss even one payment. So, you’ll be paying even more for any balances you haven’t paid off.
- Credit score damage. Did you know a single late payment could drop your credit score by 100 points or more? That means you’ll pay higher rates on any future loans.
Of course you can’t undo the late payment, but you can control the damage. Trent Hamm is the author of 31 Days to Fix Your Finances. He suggests calling customer service immediately. Explain why the payment’s late and tell them when to expect it. At the very least, they’ll make a note on your account so you’re not bugged by robocall reminders. You should also ask if they’ll waive the late fee. Most companies will if it’s a one-time mistake. And before you hang up, make sure they aren’t reporting the late payment to the credit bureaus. Each company has their own rules about reporting delinquent payments. Almost all of them will consider your good record and won’t report you – but only if you ask.