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Did you miss a credit card payment? Here’s what to do next

Missing a credit card payment can be stressful, and even accidental lapses in payments can have lasting repercussions on your credit. 

“Timely credit card payments are crucial for maintaining your financial stability and protecting your creditworthiness,” said Amy Robbins, associate director of operations with Take Charge America, a nonprofit credit counseling and debt management agency. “Not only can missed payments lead to fees and higher interest rates, but you can do serious damage to your credit score that can impact your ability to qualify for loans for years to come.”

Robbins shares what steps you can take if a payment is missed:

Call the credit card issuer: If you accidentally miss a payment, immediately pay the balance as soon as you catch it. You should call your issuer to explain the situation if penalties have been assessed. They may refund late fees or interest charges if you’ve paid in full, and some even waive your first late fee automatically. If you can’t afford to pay the balance, the creditor may provide you with options for a temporary hardship plan. 

Pay at least the minimum promptly: Credit card issuers typically wait 30 days before reporting a late payment to credit bureaus. Paying the minimum amount within this range may prevent penalties and protect your credit score.

Prevent future lapses: There are several ways to ensure you don’t miss future payments: 

Enroll in autopay: You can set up automatic payments for the minimum payment due, your total statement balance or another amount. Most creditors have an autopay option on their app or website, or you can call to set it up. 

Set payment reminders: If you prefer manual payments, set calendar reminders or text and email alerts for your statement availability and due dates.

Change your payment due date: Contact your creditor to determine options for changing your payment due date to one that works for you and aligns with your other due dates for bills.

Seek credit card debt relief: If you are consistently missing payments and find yourself overwhelmed by credit card debt, it may be time to seek professional help. Credit counseling and debt management programs from a nonprofit agency can set you on the path to financial freedom without damaging your credit in the process.

For additional financial resources, visit Take Charge America’s Budget Tools.

About Take Charge America, Inc.  - Founded in 1987, Take Charge America, Inc. is a nonprofit agency headquartered in Phoenixthat offers financial education and counseling services including credit counseling, debt management, housing counseling and bankruptcy counseling. TCA says it has helped more than two million consumers nationwide manage their personal finances and debts. To learn more, visit or call (888) 822-9193.

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