What to Do If You Missed Paying Your Bill
Mistakes do happen. Skipping (or missing) one or two bill payments is not the end of the world, but it can have serious consequences, including fees, higher interest rates, a dark mark on your credit score, fixed wages, or visiting a debt collector – if you can’t fix it quickly.
To avoid all this mess, here’s what to do.
Pick up the phone and call the company if your payment is late. The sooner you do this, the better. Develop a way to fix the company situation.
Make a payment
If you have funds, make a payment. If you are unable to pay the bill in full, ask the lender if you can establish any payment plan or get a grace period. Many will be susceptible to such an arrangement, especially if you are late for the first time with your payment.
If you delay payment, be aware that it will damage your credit score after 30 days and beyond (for example, an invoice that is 90 days overdue will reduce your invoice more than an invoice that is 60 days late.). If you are 120 days late, an invoice can be sent to the collector.
When you call your lender, explain your situation and ask them to waive the commission or reconsider raising your interest rate. Regular customers and newbies will most likely be able to come up with something.
Check your credit report
If you are 30 days late, monitor your credit report (you can do this at AnnualCreditReport.com or through various apps) to see if the black mark appears. If so, you may be able to remove it. If not, it may remain on your record for up to seven years, although if this happens infrequently, it is less likely to have a lasting effect.
After all that, set up reminders and automatic payments so you don’t forget to pay your bills. And if you’re having cash flow issues, review your budget to see what unnecessary spending can be reduced in the future. Skipping a payment from time to time is not a problem, but getting used to it can give you a lot of financial headaches.