If you’re sweating bullets because your credit card payment was a day late and you’re afraid it’s going to destroy your credit score, take a deep breath. Even though your credit card company might charge you a late fee and interest, the late payment is not likely to show up on your credit report. However, if you miss an entire billing cycle, the creditor probably is going to pass that information along to the credit bureaus. Then it’s going to show up on your credit report for a while, although its impact will fade.
Counting Seven YearsWhen it comes to your credit report, negative information typically stays on your report for seven years. This means that late credit card payments stay on your credit report for seven years from the date the payment was missed. If that late payment eventually turns into a default, the seven years counts from the original missed payment deadline.
However, if you miss a payment, catch up, and then miss a second payment, the seven years for the second missed payment starts on the date of the second missed payment, not the first one, even if it’s the same card.
Late Payment SignificanceYour payment history accounts for about 31 percent of your overall credit score, making it usually the single most influential factor. Though a late payment is never going to have a positive effect on your score, the impact varies from person to person. If you have a limited credit history, a few late payments could be severely detrimental to your credit score.
However, just one late payment mixed in with a long history of on-time payments won’t hurt nearly as much. Because credit score calculations weigh other factors including how much credit you have, the age of you accounts and the variety of accounts you have, the negative impact of the late payment on your credit score decreases, even though it still shows up on your credit report.
If you have a history of paying your credit cards late, working to establish better credit habits by starting to pay on time is one way you can work to improve your credit standing.
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About the Author
Mark Kennan is a freelance writer specializing in finance-related topics. He has worked as a sports editor and published articles on a number of online outlets.
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian company. © 2014 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.