There are three reasons that you might have missed a payment on your credit card: either you can’t afford to pay, the payment didn’t get there in time or you just plain forgot. For whatever reason, there’s one thing you need to do, and quickly – get on the phone.
Then, apologise like you’ve never apologised before. Don’t panic, stay calm, but make it clear to the customer service representative that you’re very sorry. Say that things like this never happen to you. If you just forgot, then tell the truth about what happened. But if you can’t afford to pay, then you should say so too.
You will be surprised at how sympathetic credit card companies can be if you phone and apologise. After all, the sensible ones want to keep you paying interest to them for a long time to come, so it’s not really in their interest to punish you.
Remember to show your appreciation if they let you off. Promise that it won’t happen again. Whatever you do, don’t get angry or frustrated. You need their goodwill and to be in their good books.
However, if deemed necessary, you may also want to show that you are willing to transfer your balance elsewhere if they won’t let you off this one mistake. Credit card companies will usually be more accommodating to your request once you make this known.
You need to do everything you can to persuade them not to add your late payment to your credit report. Any negativity in your credit report may adversely affect your applications for any credit. Remember that any late payment can be a black mark against your name for as long as ten years.
On the other hand, if the worst happens and it does get onto your credit report, don’t worry excessively. As long as there’s only one late payment in a year or so, it doesn’t matter too much. It’s the people who consistently pay late who get the truly terrible credit ratings.
In the future, remember to make payments early. This goes especially for the people whose payments didn’t make it in time. It is just not prudent to wait until the day before the deadline to make your credit card payment. Many things can go wrong at the last minute.
In a nutshell, it’s generally a bad idea to let bills of any kind stack up until you get around to them. Review your bills regularly, pay on time and you’ll live a much less stressful life.