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What Are The Stages of Late Credit Card Payments?

Posted on August 2, 2011

Late payments go through several stages. In the beginning, the consequences are mild, there’s very little impact to your credit. As you get become more delinquent on your payments, your credit is affected more, your balance grows and it’s harder to get caught up. Understanding the stages of a late payment may make you want to work harder to keep your payments on time.

Less than 30 days late

If you’ve only missed your due date by a few days, you’re still less than 30 days late. Your credit card issuer will charge a late fee (which may not show up until your next bill), but at this point, nothing goes on your credit report. Send your payment before your next due date and the credit bureaus will never know you were late.

30-89 days late

Once you’re 30 days late, however, the credit card issuer will update your credit report to show that your payment was late. If you catch up on your payments, your account status will go back to current, but the old late payment still remains. On the other hand, if you miss your payment again, making you 60 days late, your credit card issuer can charge the maximum late fee of $35. After that, your interest rate increases to the default rate.

90 to 180 days late

Between 90 and 180 days late, the late notices continue to be added to your credit report, resulting in a decrease in your credit score. Late fees are also added to your account each month. Your creditor will send letters and make phone calls trying to get you to bring your account current. In the beginning, they send gentle reminders “Please make your payment.” As you become more delinquent, the late notices are more serious. Some credit card issuers may offer to settle your account after it’s passed 90 day late mark.


If you haven’t paid your account in six months (180 days), most creditor charge-off the account. That means they take the account off the assets list in their accounting books and count it as a loss. Despite the account being charged-off, creditors still want you to pay what you owe. A charge-off is one of the worst things that can happen to your credit report and one of the hardest items to repair.

Many accounts are sent to a collection agency after they’re charged-off. The collection agency has its turn at trying to get you to pay the debt. The collector will also add an entry to your credit report.


At any point in the delinquency, the creditor or the collector has the right to sue you for the debt you owe. The lawsuit itself won’t be added to your credit report, but if the creditor wins a judgment against you (meaning the court orders you to pay up), that judgment will go on your credit report in the public records section.

Late payments stay on your credit report for seven years from the date they’re added. You may be able to remove some of them earlier by using credit repair strategies like pay for delete and goodwill letters.

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