What to Do if You Forget to Make a Credit Card Payment


There are a number of reasons to miss a credit card payment – financial woes, competing expenses, or waiting for cash inflow. Oftentimes, though, the reason is simply that it was forgotten.

Absentmindedness can happen to the best of us, but forgetting a payment can cause a few negative consequences. Your credit card provider could charge you a late fee, raise your interest rate, and even report your late payment to the credit agencies, damaging your credit score. You could even lose your rewards points.

Luckily, most of these consequences can be avoided if you move swiftly to reconcile the issue.

Pay Your Bill Immediately

First things first: you should pay your bill immediately. As long as you aren’t weeks or months late, your credit card company will likely not report the missed payment to the credit agencies. This also puts you in a better position to negotiate away any penalties – in fact, you could coordinate your payment over the phone with your credit card provider at the same time you call them to negotiate in our next step.

Contact Your Card Provider

If you have a history as a good customer, you may be able to convince your provider to waive the consequences and accept your late payment this time.

Call up your credit card provider. Make sure you know how long you’ve been a customer and your history of on-time payments. If you’ve made your forgotten payment by this point (or are prepared to) make sure to mention this. Ask to waive the negative consequences of your late payment. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and if your standing with the company is good, you have a decent chance of negotiation as long as you can make your payment ASAP.

You should avoid mentioning that you are having difficulty making payments unless you truly need long-term help. If you give the credit card company the impression that you are having financial difficulties, they could lower your credit limit.

Put a Stop to Future Missed Payments

Once you’ve resolved the issue, you’ll want to get back on track and avoid missing payments in the future. You can do this several ways – many credit card providers support automated payments to charge your back account on a recurring date each month.

Or, if you’re uncomfortable with automatic debiting, you could simply setup a monthly calendar reminder on your phone, email, or wall calendar to remind you the same time each month to make that payment on time.

If You’re Having Difficulty

These steps will help you manage a missed payment due to forgetfulness. However, if your missed payment is due to deeper financial trouble, you may need a greater response. Check out this post for what to do if you’re struggling with credit card debt.


Related Articles:

Credit Card Basics for First Time Users

What are the Most Common Credit Mistakes People Make?

Common Myths Related to the 5 Factors of Your Credit Score

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