What Happens If You Miss A Credit Card Payment

A lot goes into keeping your credit score from tanking. Sometimes it seems as though it’s impossible to keep it from dropping points. But if you constantly check your credit score, you’ll find the many important things that you must do in order to keep it high and impressive to potential creditors. But what happens if you miss a credit card payment? And even worse, what happens if it was innocent and you didn’t mean to?

Your Score Drops

If you miss a credit card payment, your score can be in real jeopardy- especially if you’ve never missed a payment before. A simple late payment to your credit card or loan can result in a drop anywhere from 50 to 100 points! I know that sounds insane, but it’s something that creditors look at with extreme caution if they know nothing else about you but your payment history.

Late Fees

Creditors make money through a couple different means– interest and fees. Late fees are one of the fees that you would want to avoid because when they add up, they can be a pretty penny. Avoid this fee at all costs, because the long-term effects of late payments do no good to your score.

What To Do Now?

What happens when you miss a credit card payment can effect some extremely important credit decisions by creditors like interest rates for a new car, home, or even a new credit card. So tread softly in these waters and try not to make it into a habit, otherwise you can really jeopardize some really important credit opportunities that you may need later on.

1. Call

If it was a simple mistake or you couldn’t get the funds together to make the payment, be sure to call your credit card company or loan provider and explain what happened. Be honest and let them know that it won’t happen again. During this conversation, ask the representative to get rid of the late fee and the late payment report that’s been recorded or is set to be recorded on your credit report.

Be sure to do this as soon as possible in order to get everything rectified before the creditor sends your late payment information to the credit bureaus. Just be sure to keep in mind that the representative and company owe you nothing (technically you owe them in a literal sense), so be kind but firm when asking. They have the right to deny your request, but it never hurts to fight your case and hope for the best.

2. Set Up Automatic Payments

Once you get the chance, I suggest setting up automatic payments for your credit card and loan bill (especially if the reason behind the missed payment was that you forgot about the bill). It makes life much easier when you know that you don’t have to worry about reminding yourself to send in money by a certain date or to transfer money from one bank to another.

Setting up automatic payments would be the most convenient option in ensuring that you never miss a payment date again. It helps you better track what needs to be paid and when on a continuous loop without ever having to do the manual work again.

The only thing is that you must be very wary when activating automatic payments otherwise you could find yourself in even more of a rut by losing track of due dates and allowing overdraft fees to incur. My suggestion in this case is to be very cautious when allowing automatic payments on your debit card accounts. Ensure that you have the due date written down somewhere and always be expectant of that so that you don’t end up in an even deeper hole than you were before.

3. Take Caution

The best thing that you can do in this case is keep a close watch of your score using one of the 3 main credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. My pro-tip would be to use a website called Credit Karma to track your credit.

When you use Credit Karma, you pay no fees because it’s completely free to use and they give you an update once a week of your credit score. They also provide amazing tips and help you understand what you’re doing good or bad that’s effecting your score. They also send emails from time to time notifying you of any sudden spikes in your score so you’re always on the alert. In their application, they show TransUnion and Equifax scores, but you can retrieve your Experian scores separately on www.annualcreditreport.com for free once every 12 months.

Final Word

Be sure to monitor your credit cards and loans in order for you to be sure that everything is taken care of hastily. If you wait too long to pay your debt off, you can find that your interest rates increase, fees add up, and you’re paying back much more than you’ve actually spent.

Take care of your credit, and your credit will take care of you.

18 thoughts on “What Happens If You Miss A Credit Card Payment

    1. I’m glad! There are a lot of things that can effect your credit score, and missing a payment is definitely a hard hitter!

      Thanks for reading (:

  1. Amazing tips, Thank you Wenda, I find it so unbelivable how much your credit score goes down just because of one lack of payment. The rule I go by in terms of credit cards is never to spend any amount that I dont physically have and that has helped me a lot. Thank you for sharing this article!



    1. Hi there, Pam- thank you for reading!

      I know! It can be so overwhelming when dealing with credit cards, and mistakes can be so detrimental to your score but you’re using them the right way– keep it up!


  2. Great article.
    One thing that I do is a set up a reminder on my phone to “make sure money is available” in my account for my bill.
    I’ve also found that if it was a mistake and you have a good track record with the credit card company, they are very forgiving with late fees and interest.
    I love using Credit Karma. It gives me a good look at my account and I can look more than once a year.
    Thanks again for the article. Good things to keep in mind.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Nancy!

      We are very much the same– I also keep reminders handy to ensure that money isn’t scarce when bills come around! Credit Karma is also doing it right! 🙂

  3. Thanks for this article. I have had bad credit in the past and just stuck my head in the sand when I knew there were things I couldn’t afford to pay. Did not know that a late payment could be worth 100 points. Credit Karma is a website 1 hadn’t heard of before, it sounds like such a helpful thing, thanks for mentioning it. 🙂

    1. I know how that feels, Natalie!

      Most of us have been there and the hardest thing is getting ourselves out of the rut! And yes, according to Equifax’s website (linked below), you suffer more the better your credit score is– for example, if you have a 780 credit score and one missed payment, your score can drop significantly more than if you have a 500 credit score and 3 missed payments. The longer you wait to pay that bill as well also helps contribute to the amount that your score drops!

      Credit scores are sensitive things 🙁 Thank you for reading, Natalie!


  4. I feel like this article was written for a younger me, I used to be terrible with money and keeping track of things. How does one go about improving their credit score ?

    1. That’s my goal, Marvin! Thank you so much for reading!

      The first step is always to be aware and monitor it! The more you look at it, the more aware you will be when a fluctuation occurs. You want to ensure that you’re being extra careful when trying to improve your score because any slip up can cause your score to drop for a month or even a few months. Everyone is different so the only real way to know what would work best for you is to speak to a professional financial coach or advisor, and/or use an app like Credit Karma (they pinpoint what’s affecting your score for you)!

      I always like to say, “Improving is harder than maintaining”, so once you do get out of debt and your score improves, be wise and keep it up and steady!

      Best of luck, and feel free to shoot an email to wenda@moneymindsetters.com for other small tips that may have a big impact! 🙂

  5. I am very credit score conscious and as you recommended I monitor it using Credit Karma. I definitely did not know that if you are late on a payment that there is still a way to rectify and save your credit score by making a simple call. Wish I knew that back in my college days when my credit was just getting established! Thanks for the great info.

    1. Nice! Credit Karma is super helpful and definitely has a monopoly– I can’t find anything else like it!

      Thank you so much for reading, Amber!

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