No one is perfect. Sometimes you make mistakes. But what if you miss a credit card payment or pay it late? Will your credit score drop? How long will the damage last?
One time thing or regular occurrence?
If late or missed payments are regular occurrences in your credit history, these events will most likely have an effect on your credit score. As late payments become more frequent - or longer in duration (see below for more information) - the more potential damage that can be done to your credit.
With the exception of currently late payments, a one-time late credit card payment most likely won't have a dramatic effect on your credit score. As noted by finance writer Gerri Detweiler, there is even a chance that a late payment will not even appear on your credit report. It all depends on your creditor. She explains that most creditors will not report a late payment to the credit bureaus until it is more than 30 days late. This gives you a slight grace period (depending on your lender) to get your payment in before it appears in your credit history.
How late is too late?
The later your credit card payment is the greater chance it can affect your credit score. For example, one 90-day late payment could affect your credit for up to seven years. This negative factor flags you as likely to have another 90-day late payment.
Below is a breakdown of how the length of lateness may affect your credit:
Check your credit history for late and missed payments
Paying all of your bills on time is not always a guarantee that you don't have to worry about late payments. Clerical and computer errors, identity fraud, and forgotten accounts you had could cause late payments to appear in your credit history and damage your credit score.