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How to Handle Late Credit-Card Payments

    • 1). Send the credit-card payment electronically or mail it as soon as you possibly can. The number of days a payment is late influences how it is viewed by lenders and how it affects your credit score. For example, a payment that is 30 days late is not as bad as a 60- or 90-day delinquency. MSN Money financial columnist Liz Pulliam Weston warns that many lender charge off accounts when payments reach 180 days past due and transfer them to collection agencies.

    • 2). Call the bank after the payment is received and ask it if will waive the late-payment fee. Credit-card issuers usually charge a fee for payments received after the due date, which "Wall Street Journal" writer Jennifer Waters explains is capped at $25 by the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. Sometimes they will waive the penalty if you are a long-time customer with an excellent history.

    • 3). Order your three credit reports through Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. These three credit bureaus supply one free copy each year through annualcreditreport.com, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Writer Dayana Yochim of the Motley Fool money-management website explains that the majority of credit report errors involve late payments. Make sure the delinquency does not look worse than it really is. For example, a 30-day late payment should not show up as 60 or 90 days behind. Dispute mistaken information through the credit bureau websites, which all have electronic forms for this purpose.

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