It’s the first time you missed a credit card payment. You’re probably thinking, no. big. deal.
We know it’s boring, but guess what? Your credit score matters. A LOT.
If you’re a HENRY™ who is crushing it with your money game, this probably isn’t news to you. You might even use a tool to keep track of your credit score (we often recommend CreditWise*)
But did you know that just 1 missed credit card payment can significantly ding your credit score?
You’d be surprised how easy it is to knock your credit score down a notch accidentally. Let’s talk through a real example…
A HENRY™ at Stash Wealth had a near-perfect credit score at 837. They moved mid-month to a new address and forgot to update the billing address for a credit card they rarely use. The card only had a $33 charge on it, but without getting their statement in the mail, they forgot to pay it off. After 30 days they noticed their credit score dropped to 716!
If you’re in a similar boat and missed a payment, don’t panic. You can and should do something to fix it.
3 Steps to Fix a Missed Payment
- Call your credit card company.
- Write letters to the reporting agencies.
Let’s walk through each step…
STEP 1 – Call your credit card company
Talking to someone over the phone may sound like the last thing you want to do, but it’s worth it.
Explain your situation. Speak directly with a representative. Tell them you want to pay the balance immediately. Be friendly. Tell them that you had a great credit score, never missed a payment, always pay on time (assuming this is true, as they will be able to reference your payment history). Explain what led you to miss this payment. Make it clear that it was a one-time thing.
After explaining your situation, ask them to…
- Waive your late fee, if you were charged one
- Ask the lender to remove the late payment from your credit report
The whole phone call will take less time than it takes you to scroll through Netflix deciding what show to start next.
STEP 2 – Write a letter to the reporting agencies
Write a letter to each of the 3 main reporting agencies. Uh oh, are we losing you here? Too much work? Don’t even own stamps?
STAY WITH US.
Remember that example earlier of the client whose credit score dropped from 837 to 716?
One missed credit card payment could lead to a drop in your credit score of over 100 points. A change of over 100 points in your credit score can result in an increase of thousands of dollars of interest on a mortgage.
Would you write a quick letter to potentially save thousands of dollars? Thought so.
Your letter should be similar to what you said on your phone call with the credit card rep and you can send the same letter to all of the agencies (there are only 3).
Explain what happened. Be nice.
- Your full name and address listed at the top
- The account that was affected (like, “Bank of America credit card”)
- Let them know you’ve notified the credit card company and asked them to remove the negative mark on your report and wanted to alert the agency as well
- Include the impact this had on your credit score
While it may feel painful to buy stamps, we strongly suggest old school letters instead of using an online portal. In our experience with thousands of HENRYs™, we’ve seen greater success in writing a letter than submitting a claim via online portals.
Below are the addresses of the 3 agencies you should write to:
PO Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30348
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016-2000
PO Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013
Step 3 – Wait
It normally takes 30 to 45 days to get a response from rating agencies (they’ll respond via mail). Put a reminder on your calendar for 45 days after you mail your letters, if you haven’t gotten a response, make sure to follow up with the agencies.
These three steps to fixing your credit score after a missed credit card payment may not sound as easy as you hoped, but it’s well worth it.
As we publish this post, the HENRY™ who saw their score drop to 716 is back up to 813 and climbing!
*We give conflict-free advice and do not get paid to recommend this tool.