Imagine finding a credit card bill you forgot to pay. Even if you make most of your payments on time, donít brush it off as ďno big deal.Ē Because even one late payment can cost you THOUSANDS of dollars! Hereís 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 cardís interest rate the moment you miss even one payment. So, youíll be paying even more for any balances you havenít paid off.
- Credit score damage. Did you know a single late payment could drop your credit score by 100 points or more? That means youíll pay higher rates on any future loans.
Of course you canít 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 paymentís late and tell them when to expect it. At the very least, theyíll make a note on your account so youíre not bugged by robocall reminders. You should also ask if theyíll waive the late fee. Most companies will if itís a one-time mistake. And before you hang up, make sure they arenít 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 wonít report you Ė but only if you ask.