Today it seems like many of us are busier than we ever have been before. With seemingly endless to-do lists and a host of obligations to keep track of, it’s easy to understand why certain tasks – even very important tasks – slip our minds.
For example, in your rush to meet deadlines at work and keep the kids’ activities schedules straight, you may forget to make a payment on your credit card. This is perfectly understandable and it happens to all of us from time to time, but if your find yourself in this situation, it’s essential to take a few critical steps. After all, if your missed payment extends beyond 30 days, or worse, turns into several missed payments, you could be doing damage to your credit score.
So what exactly should you do if you miss a credit card payment? Take a look at the information below for the three crucial moves you’ll need to make as soon as you possibly can.
Step 1: Call your credit card issuer
If you miss making a payment on your credit card, it may seem like the best thing to do is lay low for a little while. But actually, the very first thing you should do is get in touch with your credit card company and fess up to your mistake. Assuming you missed the payment because it slipped your mind, be honest. If this is your first offense, it’s likely that your credit card issuer will waive the late fee if you ask.
If you missed your credit card payment because you’re short on cash, be honest about that, too. Again, it may seem counterintuitive, but most credit card companies are willing to work with customers who are having a hard time paying.
Step 2: Pay the bill
After you’ve made contact with your credit card company about the missed payment, the best thing you can do is pay it in full immediately. Again, assuming that this is your first time missing a payment, you likely won’t have to pay a late fee if you ask to have it removed. If it’s not your first time to make this mistake, you likely will have to pay the fee. If this is the case, just cough up the cash and move on – it’s not likely you’ll win that battle.
If you don’t have enough money on hand to pay the bill in full, pay whatever you can and continue to stay in contact with your credit card issuer (see above) about making good on the rest of the bill. The worst thing you can do is keep avoiding the situation just because you’re unable to pay the full amount.
Step 3: Monitor your credit – and your future due dates – carefully
This final step is possibly the most important of all; one missed credit card payment is easy to bounce back from, but several indicate a pattern of irresponsible behavior, so it’s essential that you avoid making this mistake again. Program an alert into your cell phone to remind you when your bill is due, or mark a calendar – do whatever you think will work.
Also, you should keep a close watch on your credit to see if the missed payment has had an impact. If not, consider yourself lucky, but if so, this means you need to be especially carefully about keeping on top of your financial habits so that you can eventually earn back any lost points.
We can all be forgiven for making mistakes, it’s just important to react accordingly and try to prevent them from happening again. If you miss a credit card payment, be sure to put the plan above in place so that you can put your money flub behind you as soon as possible!