When do credit card companies report late payments?

credit card companies report late paymentsAs a rule of thumb, banks and other credit card issuers report payment and balance information monthly to the three national credit reporting agencies which are TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. If an account is dormant, banks may only update the bureaus every three to six months.

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Generally, credit card companies only report delinquencies once a payment is more than 30 days late. If the delinquency continues, they will once again report to the bureau when the payment reaches 60 days, 90 days, and 120 days late, etc.

Can a payment that’s only a few days late adversely affect my credit standing?

Yes! While most companies won’t, some will report a late credit card payment that is received just a few days beyond the due date. It depends mainly on how a credit cardholder behaves over time. The most dependable account holders are least likely to be reported if they fall a few days behind.

On the other hand, there are credit card companies that won’t report delinquencies until they’ve reached 60 days past due, choosing not to report 30 day late payments at all. Once again, most of the actions of the credit card companies will depend on how well their clients maintain their credit card accounts

Experts acknowledge that even one 30-day late payment can affect your credit score by 60 – 110 points. By conventional rules, a payment is 30 days late if it is from 1 to 30 days past the due date. Similarly, a payment is considered 60 days delinquent if it is 31 – 60 past the due date.

Credit cardholders should understand then, that a payment will be reported as 30 days late by the credit card company  even if it was only received a few days past the due date, if the card company decides to report it to the bureau. Unfortunately, there is no in-between payment status, 30, 60, 90 days, etc. is the rule.

Credit bureaus report somewhat differently. Conversely, the credit bureaus don’t label payments 30 days late unless they are 30 to 59 days delinquent.

Can I contact a credit bureau directly if there’s a problem?

when credit card companies report late paymentsSure! Contacting the credit bureau is not only a good idea, it’s your right if there’s a problem with information the bureau is reporting. Smart consumers run a credit report on themselves at least once each year to make sure their credit file is accurate and up-to-date

Credit tips and other consumer related articles relating to credit card and credit reporting agencies, as well as other helpful financial information can be found on the MSN Money website.

What do I do if my credit report contains an error?

In a report filed by an associate editor of Kiplinger Magazine in 2009, Jessica Anderson chronicles her own experience in fighting the big three credit bureaus to correct an error. Anderson makes several observations that will help anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.

  • When doing battle with a credit bureau, you are on your own. Operating much like the IRS, the credit bureaus consider you guilty of any credit infraction listed on their reports, until you can prove your innocence. While they may offer assistance, it is up to you to go back to the source of the credit information to verify an error has been made.
  • While it may seem more expedient to ignore the problem, or even pay off a small bill or credit card purchase that isn’t yours, avoid taking the easy way out. You can dispute a credit card purchase. Take the time to resolve the problem correctly and make the reporting company own up to its error.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying! Don’t give up at a minor setback or even after a second or third failure to quickly resolve the problem. Keep after the credit card company involved in the misunderstanding until you accomplish your goal.
  • Finally, if you can’t resolve the situation on your own, get some help! Call in the reserves, experts in the field, regulatory boards or attorney general if needed, to add some weight to your arguments and/or force the errant company to hear and resolve your case.

According to Anderson, the fight was worth it, since once the errant derogatory credit item was removed from her record, her credit score jumped up 80 points!

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