At a Glance

Missing a payment for your outstanding debt can have serious consequences if done regularly. If you’re not able to make the minimum payment amount before the deadline, expect to receive late fees and potentially higher interest rates.

In this article, you’ll learn:

What happens when you miss a card payment?

The number of on-time payments you make accounts for 35% of your total credit score so it’s safe to say that missing a payment deadline is a big deal to creditors. However, it’s not the end of the world if you miss just one by a few days, as most credit card issuers only report late payments after they’re 30 days past due.

If you continue to miss your payment deadlines regularly, though, you can expect a serious hit to your credit score. In addition, most card issuers will tack on late payment fees, penalty interest rates, and may even send your account into collections. Also, any promotional APRs you have will most likely be removed, causing your total balance to accrue interest.

What can you do if you miss a payment?

1. Pay at least the minimum

While it’s best to pay off your total balance, don’t sweat it too badly if you can’t get the full amount together. At the very least, make the minimum payment required that month and take the standard APR hit on your remaining balance. Making the minimum payment will ensure your account stays in good standing with the issuer and ensures your credit score won’t go down because of a late payment.

2. Call the issuer

Depending on your history with the credit card issuer, you may be able to work something out with them. Some credit cards will offer their cardholders a temporarily reduced interest rate, and payment plan, or will update their payment deadline to one that better suits their income flow. However, there’s no guarantee for this, as you’re essentially at the mercy of your card issuer. That said, it never hurts to ask, and your issuer may see it as a worthwhile compromise that ensures they won’t have to write your debt off or send it to collections.

3. Monitor your credit reports

Keep an eye on your credit score and monitor your credit reports closely. Late payments can stay on your credit report for up to seven years and can significantly impact your ability to obtain loans, credit cards, or even rent an apartment. If you notice a late payment has been reported inaccurately, contact the issuer and credit bureau to dispute it.

How to prevent a late credit card payment?

To avoid missing future payments, consider setting up automatic payments or reminders on your phone or calendar. Additionally, creating a budget and tracking your spending can help you stay on top of your payments and ensure you don’t fall behind again.


Most late payments will stay on your credit report for up to seven years from the initial date the payment was missed, known as the “delinquency date.”

Legitimate late payments cannot be manually removed and will automatically fall seven years after the original missed payment deadline. Inaccurate reports of late payments can be disputed by contacting the credit issuer directly. If they disagree, you can go to one of the three major credit reporting bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian – and file a dispute with them. If that doesn’t work, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and file a dispute there.

Absolutely! Missing a credit card payment can have serious consequences, but it’s not the end of the world. If it’s under 30 days late, you might not even see it on your credit report. If your payment is over 30 days late, though, take action as soon as possible and work with your issuer to find a solution that works for both parties.