Creditors May Not Notify You Before Reporting Deliquency

Woman looking at bills and receipts on floor
Dear Experian,

Do creditors have any obligation to notify you directly of an impending report of a late payment other than a monthly statement?


Dear BNF,

Creditors are not required by law to notify you prior to reporting a late payment.

Information about when late payments will be reported to a credit reporting company is usually included in the terms and conditions section of the credit contract. The contract likely will state that the creditor has the right to report late or missed payments to the credit reporting agencies. It may or may not specify that you will be notified prior to a late payment being reported.

Even though you will likely be charged additional fees or have your interest rate increased if you are late in making payments, they are not reported until a full billing cycle has been missed. That means if your payment due date is today and you miss the payment, the late payment will not be reported until the next due date. If you make the payment within that month, it wouldn't appear as late in your credit report.

In the end, you are responsible for being sure the bill is paid on time, even if you don't receive the billing statement. To be sure bills are paid on time consider marking on a calendar the approximate dates the bills should arrive. If you don't get them by those dates you can contact the creditors to be sure the bills were sent and that they haven't been lost in the mail. If you didn't get the bills you can notify the creditors and still make the payments on time.

Another option is to arrange for automatic payments each month. Because the bills are paid automatically, you only need to make sure there are sufficient funds in your bank account to cover the charges.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty and know that you may have trouble making payments, contact your creditors and notify them in advance. In some cases, the creditor may be willing to work with you to minimize any impact to your credit report.

Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team