Over the course of a lifetime, many average consumers will face occasions when they cannot make a timely payment on one or more of their debt accounts. This does not have to be the end of your good credit record, but what you do, the actions that you take, will determine whether you make it through this period unscathed or not.
When it comes to being late on a payment it really does not matter what the payment is for. Whether it is for a home loan payment, car loan, or credit card is immaterial as there are some steps that should be taken regardless of the loan type. Here are some suggestions that can help you make the most of a tight time:
As soon as you know that you cannot make the payment contact the lender via phone, if possible. You will want to talk to someone in the loan department, and your monthly statement may have a toll free number that you can use for this purpose.
Explain to the loan person the circumstances behind your inability to pay. If your circumstances are temporary make sure you tell them that.
It is almost inevitable that the loan department will want to know when you believe you might be able to make up the payment. It is always a good idea to have thought about this before you make the call.
If you honestly believe that you can make up the payment within 30 days of being late, tell them that and use those words “within 30 days” and tell them you are going to do this because you don’t want the delinquency to be reported to the credit agencies. This shows the person that you are talking to that you have some knowledge of how these things work and that you are serious about maintaining your good credit.
On the subject of number of days late, it is important to remember that if a bill is late but paid within 30 days of the cut off date the delinquency may not be reported to the credit reporting agencies, which means it will not go on your credit history. However, if 60 to 90 days pass without payment it is almost certain that it will be reported and be placed on your credit record. For this reason it is imperative that you make up the payment as quickly as possible.
Many consumers do not realize that once a mark goes on their credit report that mark can stay there for up to seven years. It is true that one mark may not cause a lender to turn you down in the future, but why take that chance when you do not have to?
Make your payment as quickly as possible and you can avoid having these late payments haunting you in the future. The important thing to remember is to contact the lender and explain your circumstances. Do not ignore the lender; this is the worse possible thing you can do when you cannot make a timely payment.
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