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Credit Card Basics

What should you do if you have fallen behind on credit card payments?

If you have late payments on your credit report, the best thing you can do is to bring the account current. Creditors view your payment history as the most important indicator of how you manage credit.

Payments that are made a few days late rarely appear on credit reports, but can result in late fees, increased interest rates or other penalties. Payments that are made 30 or more days late will be reported as delinquent in your credit history. Debts not paid on time, or that are not paid at all, are a strong indicator to creditors that you may be a poor credit risk.

Consider talking to your credit card providers. If you have only missed one payment on an account and there are no late payments on other accounts, the lender may be able to remove that single late payment. If not, keep in mind that one late payment in a long, positive credit history may not have a substantial impact on your ability to get credit.

If there are multiple late payments, or other derogatory information, your lender will be less likely to remove the delinquency. However, any time you are struggling to make your payments, you should talk to your lenders and ask if they can help.

If you are trying to rebuild your credit history after experiencing financial difficulty, the most important thing to do is to catch up on any late payments and reduce the balances on your credit card accounts. Late payments remain on your credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date of the debt, but the further in the past they occurred, the less they will impact your score. By making all your payments on time going forward, you can begin to rebuild your credit.

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Do you have questions about credit?

Join our live video chat every Tuesday and Thursday at 3:00 p.m. ET on Periscope. Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education at Experian, is available to answer your questions live.
Scoped on: 6/15/2017

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