I'm sure you have been fairly warned that missing your credit card payment is a matter of great concern. You could either sit back in fear and wonder 'what if...', or you could gear up and tackle the situation head-on. A minute delay in action can lead to severe consequences. Act on it immediately.
Here are a few things that you should do during such times of crisis:
Pay the amount right away when you realize that you have missed a payment. If you can't pay the full amount, pay the minimum amount required. Typically, card issuing companies report delinquent payments when you are more than 30 days late. Pay the dues before the next bill arrives. However, you must know that there is no guarantee that this will work. There is a chance that the company might report it the moment you fail to pay.
When you miss a credit card payment, a late fee will certainly be added to your outstanding balance. Late fees can be very high and you should try finding a way to avoid it. Many creditors will be willing to waive your late fee if you have a history of regular payments. Contact the issuing company and explain your situation to them. Try to convince them for a waiver politely. Don’t be shy. Don’t be demanding either. If they don't agree, don't pursue further. Learn a lesson, pay the fee and be resolute that the mistake won't be repeated.
If missing payment was an accidental one-time issue, then hopefully you already have an organized system for reminders. However, if you notice that you keep defaulting now and then, you need to be more vigilant and find a way to remind yourself. You could put up a monthly bill payment calendar on the wall, listing all the due dates and the minimum payment amounts for all your accounts. This might sound archaic but has proven to be a useful technique that has stood the test of time. I assume you are a tech-savvy person, so you might prefer setting up reminders on your phone. Email reminders could also do the work - you could try FollowUpThen.
There is a slight chance that reminders might backfire as it is subject to human errors. The safest and fool-proof way to ensure timely payment would be to set up autopay. Link your credit card bill to your savings account and set up an automatic payment on a day before the due date. Ensure that your account has enough money for the automatic transaction. There you go - completely secured from another missed payment.
Keep an eye on your credit reports. As I told you earlier, in all probabilities, your bank will not report a case of late payment till your next billing cycle, which gives you 30 days to clear the missed payment. However, if you don’t pay the minimum payment on time, your credit report will show the late payment record, which can stay on the report for seven years. These factors bring down your credit score, so you must be alert.
‘Nothing’. Seriously. If you don't take action, and leave the issue unresolved, matters might get complicated and turn into a costly blunder. An apparently trivial matter like missing a payment can land you in deep debt. Don't let it roll down that road.
Don't miss a payment. If you do, then don't be a couch potato. Pull yourself up, dust the mistake off and take action!