At a Glance
Things happen, and you may find yourself in a situation where you missed a credit card payment date. While a one-day late payment may cost you a fee or penalty, it likely won’t impact your credit score. The good news is there are things you can do if you do miss a payment, and to avoid late payments.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- One-day late payment will not affect credit score
- When is a late payment reported to the credit bureaus
- How do I know if there’s a late payment on my credit report
- What to expect if you are one day late on a payment
- Next steps if you missed a credit payment
- How long does a late payment stay on my credit report
One-day late payment will not affect credit score
If you make a payment one day late, or even a few days late, the payment will not be reported as “late” and it will not impact your credit score. Typically, creditors only notify the credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) if the payment falls 30 or more days past due. In this case, it would be considered a delinquency and your credit score may be negatively impacted.
Delinquencies will remain on your credit report for seven years from the date of the original missed payment. However, as long as you pay before 30 days pass, your credit will be fine.
That said, you may incur a late payment fee. If you go 60 days or more without payment, you may face a more severe payment in the form of an interest rate hike, which may be applied to any existing balances as well as new charges going forward, or you may be reported to a collections agency.
When is a late payment reported to the credit bureaus?
Credit card issuers, loan and mortgage servicers, and other creditors typically won’t report a late payment to the credit bureaus unless it’s gone unpaid for a full billing cycle, which is 30 days. However, this is up to the lender, so they may not report until 60 or 90 days after a missed payment. Check with your individual lender or creditor to learn when they may report missed payments.
That said, you shouldn’t take any chances with late payments. Try to make your payments on time as often as you can to guarantee you don’t face any fees, penalties, or impact to your credit score.
How do I know if there’s a late payment on my credit report?
Through December 2023, you’re entitled to a free weekly credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. You can request them through AnnualCreditReport.com. Check the “payments” section of the report and look for any late payment delinquencies. Make sure anything reported there is reported correctly.
You can also keep an eye on your account activity more often using your credit card or bank mobile app or certain personal finance websites.
What to expect if you are one day late on a payment
Missing a payment by one day won’t impact your credit score, but there are other consequences you could face.
- You may be charged a late payment fee or a penalty (like an interest rate hike). This may happen even if you are only one day late, though some lenders have a grace period where you won’t face fees if you pay within that period.
- If you still don’t pay, the delinquency will be reported to the credit bureaus (often after 30 days) and your credit score will be impacted. A late payment could drop your score by up to 100 points or more.
- Then, the creditor may send your late payment to a collections agency. The agency will begin calling and messaging you to get the payment. This will also impact your credit score.
- If you continue not to pay, you could get a summons to appear in court to resolve your debt.
If you have a secured credit card, it could get to the point where the credit card company will close your card and you’d lose your security deposit.
Next steps if you missed a credit payment
Whether you’re one day or several days late, it’s important to address the late payment as soon as possible:
1. Pay the bill as soon as possible
Call your creditor or go online and make a payment immediately.
Note that if you mail a check, it could take longer to get to the creditor and be processed and it may push you past being 30 days late, so you’d incur a delinquency.
2. Ask the creditor for a break
Once you’ve made the payment, contact the credit card company and ask if they can waive the late payment fee. Many creditors will, especially if you historically pay your bill on time or if you’re only a few days late.
3. Set up a payment alert
Find out if your creditor gives the option of receiving texts or email reminders when your bill’s due date is coming up. Or, set up your own reminders on your calendar or phone. When you do this, make sure you set up the alert to notify you a few days in advance to combat any postal delays or electronic transfer times.
4. Consider auto-pay
One of the best and easiest ways to avoid late payments is to set up automated monthly payments. Most credit card companies allow you to connect your bank account through their online portal or mobile app, and the payment will automatically be processed on the due date you set. With credit cards, you typically can choose whether you want to just pay the minimum balance each month or pay in full.
If your creditor doesn’t have an autopay option, check with your bank or credit union to learn if they have a bill-pay service that will issue payments on the day you request.
If you set up auto-pay, it’s critical to ensure you have sufficient funds to cover the payment to avoid any overdraft fees or rejected payments.
How long does a late payment stay on my credit report?
A late payment can stay on your credit report for seven years from when the account was initially reported delinquent (which is usually 30+ days past due). However, the impact on your credit score will decrease over time.
While this feels like a good effort to send at least something, partial payments will not let you avoid facing late fees or being reported late to the credit bureaus.
Some creditors provide a grace period after the bill due date where as long as you pay within that time, you will not be charged any fees or penalties. For example, most mortgage lenders have a 10-day grace period.
The best way to avoid late payments is to set up automatic payments and/or set up text/email/calendar alerts to remind you the bill is due in a few days. You may also be able to choose your payment due date, which you should consider setting up to work with your paydays.
You can only remove inaccurate late payments from your report if you file a dispute from the credit bureau. You cannot remove accurately reported late payments.