There’s Always An Excuse For Being Late!
I was so rushed to pack for Europe that I forgot to schedule my normal credit card payment for the first of the month! As a result, I missed my $535 credit card bill completely and didn’t realize it until three days after due date!
The first thing to realize is it’s not the end of the world if you accidentally miss a credit card payment. Things like this happen all the time, and the hammer does not fall on your credit score so quickly.
The second thing is there’s a grace period to how late you can be before getting hurt. Being three days late is much different from being 30 days late. But being 90+ days late is a disaster!
The final thing is credit card companies want to make money off you. Paying late or not in full every month makes them an estimated $60 billion+ a year! If credit card companies knew you would never default, they’d happily let you pay late all the time!
TWO STRATEGIES FOR HELPING WAIVE LATE PAYMENT FEES
1) Ask for forgiveness. Your first option should be to call your credit card company and ask for forgiveness. I have been late on my credit card payment four times in 180+ months of payment always because I forgot. Each time I was late, I called the credit card company within seven days to explain myself and ask whether they would wave the $25 missed payment fee and accept payment in arrears. Each time they said yes, partly because I have demonstrated years of regular payments, and partly because I always called shortly after realizing I was late. As a result, my credit score was not hurt, and if it was hurt, it still stayed above 780 so who cares. Just make sure to ask whether they’ve reported you to the credit bureaus.
2) Threaten to leave. If forgiveness doesn’t work, your second option is to threaten to
cancel your account after payment. Given there are an endless amount of credit cards available to choose from, your credit card company doesn’t want to lose you as a customer. The only problem with changing credit cards is that it’s a pain to update credit card info with existing accounts that have your information e.g. Amazon, cable company, insurance, etc. Given your boldness usually works to get your fee waved, your credit score should also not get negatively impacted if you are talking to them within a week. I had one case that succeeded, and my credit score remained the same. I had one case where the rep just wished me good luck, and my credit score was not negatively impacted from what I could tell.
But what if your threat doesn’t work and you really love your existing credit card? No shame in going back and asking for forgiveness again! After all, you were the one at fault, not them. As one reader mentions below, she called back several times to ask for forgiveness and finally found one representative who waived her fees while all others would not!
WHEN THE HAMMER FALLS ON YOUR CREDIT SCORE
The big problem occurs when you are more than 30 days late with your credit card payment. More than 30 days means that you are entering your second billing cycle and your account is now elevated to warning status. 60 days late is the next warning level until you are considered delinquent at 90 days. At this point, no amount of begging or threatening will be able to wave your late fees and save your credit score.
It is estimated by FICO that……..
If your credit score is 680
- Your score will drop 60 to 80 points to 600-620 on average and as low as 530.
If your credit score is 720
- Your score will drop 80 to 110 points to 650-610 and as low as 525.