Credit Karma

How late payments can affect your credit


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Making a late payment on your credit card, mortgage or loan can hurt your credit score and affect your overall credit health. Whether you are just three days late or 30 days late, not paying your bills on time could affect you for months and potentially years to come.

Effects of late payments

Banks and issuers consider payment history when evaluating your credit risk and deciding whether or not to approve you for credit. A long-standing history of on-time payments suggests that you are a responsible and reliable borrower; a poor history of on-time payments suggests that you may not repay debts and could result in a costly loss to the bank or issuer.

Being unreliable with payments is a red flag to financial institutions, and several things can occur when you pay late.

Paying late is a dangerous credit habit that could lead to more damaging credit actions, such as neglecting an account until it becomes delinquent or sent to collections. An account in collections may remain on your credit report for seven years and cause even more damage than a late payment.

What to do if you’ve made a late payment

If your bills are past due, the sooner you can pay the bill, the better. The damaging effect of a late payment on your credit score can increase the longer the delinquency.

If you’ve made a late payment recently, you could attempt to do the following:

Finally, keep track of your overall credit health by checking your free credit reports on Credit Karma. We break down the factors that can affect your score, so you can keep an eye on your payment history along with other important areas. Paying on time every month could help you build good credit history and improve your credit score over time.


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