I mailed one payment late because I forgot about it, and when I remembered it was one day late. How bad will that look?
One late payment probably won't have a significant impact if there are no other blemishes in your credit history, especially in the long term, and it might not appear on your credit report at all.
Late payments typically are reported only after you have missed an entire billing cycle. That means the late payment wouldn't be reported to Experian unless you still hadn't paid the bill when the next month's billing statement was sent.
For that reason, sending the check a day late probably won't have any affect on your credit report. Because you didn't miss a full month, the late payment is unlikely to be reported.
Of course, you may be charged a late fee and there is a chance that your interest rate on that account may go up. That will hit you in your wallet, but won't show up on your credit report.
Even it if is reported, one late payment in a long, positive credit history usually won't have a substantial impact on your ability to get credit.
Lenders, and the credit scoring systems they use, look for patterns of behavior over time. Accidents happen. One missed payment may cause a significant change in your credit scores in the first month or two, but the scores will likely bounce right back up if you bring the account current and are not late again.
That is because the missed payment initially represents greater risk because it is not clear whether it is a one-time mistake or the start of lasting credit problems. When the account is immediately caught back up and the on-time payment pattern returns, it quickly becomes clear that it was just a blip and not an indication of lasting problems.
Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team