What to Do If You Miss a Credit Card Payment

Published August 2021
Woman stressed out because she missed a credit card payment

Missing a credit card payment is not the end of the world if you act fast. Learn how to minimize the damage of a missed payment to protect your credit score.

Key Points:

  • If you miss a credit card payment, try to make at least the minimum payment as quickly as possible.
  • By moving quickly, you can avert damage to your credit score.
  • The consequences of missed payments are grave and long-lasting if you fail to act quickly.
  • Seek credit card help if you can’t keep up with your payments.

Even though you know that you should never miss a credit card payment, accidents sometimes happen. You may run into a financial emergency or forget to pay your bills on time. Juggling several credit cards can make it difficult to remember the different due dates.

Despite your best efforts, the unthinkable has happened. You have missed your credit card payment. What do you do to contain the damage?

Swing into damage control mode as soon as you become aware of your missed payment. What does this entail?

Make at Least the Minimum Payment as Soon as Possible

Ideally, you should pay your balance in full as soon as possible, but if you can’t, make the minimum payment. If you make it before the end of the 30-day billing cycle, you may avoid having the late payment tacked onto your credit report.

Lenders take around 30 days to report such incidents to the credit bureaus, so if you move quickly enough, you can avoid damage to your credit score. You may not make it, or your lender may report the incident earlier, but your best bet is still to make that minimum payment as soon as possible.

Call your Lender and Explain the Incident

When you are late with a payment, your lender charges you interest on your balance and a late fee. The interest is added daily, giving you another reason to react as soon as possible. The late fee amounts to about $25-$40.

After you explain the situation to your credit card issuer, ask the issuer to refund your late fee. If you make a full payment, request the refunding of the interest as well. Do not be too shy to bargain with your lender, but be aware that the lending company is within its rights to deny your request.

Some lenders waive the late fees automatically on your first missed payment.

Ensure that You Never Miss a Payment Again

Missing one payment is not the end of the world, especially if you react quickly and sort it out effectively.

Missing several payments is a different story, however. If you can’t make payments repeatedly, reach out for credit card help as soon as possible. You need credit card debt relief to stop the snowballing consequences of your missed payments.

If you can make your payments, make sure that you won’t forget to pay another bill.

  • Set up automated payments. This way, you won’t have to remember to make your payments every month. You will eliminate a possible point of failure from your financial life.
  • Set up a custom payment due date if possible. This way you can time your payments to your convenience.
  • Create an emergency fund and cover payments from this fund if you find yourself in a financial squeeze for whatever reason. The purpose of this fund is to keep you out of credit card debt, so don’t be reluctant to use it.
The Consequences of Missed Payments

Make it your top priority to iron out missed payments. If they pile up, their consequences will be dire for your finances.

  • Your payment history is the most significant component of your credit score. By letting a missed payment go on your record, you will taint your history and hurt your credit score. The higher your score is, the bigger the negative impact of a missed payment will be on it.
  • The longer your bill goes unpaid, the more profound its damage to your credit score will be. Leaving bills unpaid for 90 days will lower your credit score by a scary amount. With a high credit score, you can expect to lose around 130 points.
  • Past the 150-day mark, your credit card debt may go into collections, meaning that your lender hands it over to a debt collection agency.
  • Late payments remain on your credit report for seven years.
  • Your late payment may trigger a penalty APR on your account, raising your interest rate and increasing the cost of your debt. Your lender may rescind this penalty rate once you satisfy its conditions.
  • If you have a 0% introductory APR deal going, a late payment will almost certainly end that.


Keep your credit card payment history clean. 

When you know the consequences a late payment can have on your accounts, you can see why you must act quickly.

The debt snowball has ways of overwhelming you, so if you find yourself unable to keep up with your payments, seek credit card help immediately. Quality credit card debt relief can yank you back from the edge of financial collapse.

Understand your options before you commit to a credit card debt relief deal. Use credit counseling, debt consolidation, or debt settlement based on the specifics of your situation. A debt settlement deal can save you a lot of money. To learn how much you can save, get a personalized debt relief plan.

You can get out of debt

The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide financial advice. ClearOne Advantage is not a lender, credit repair or consumer credit counseling company. ClearOne Advantage doesn’t provide lending or credit advice. Please consult a certified financial advisor for individual credit and lending advice.

Topics: Credit Card Debt