What to do if you've missed payments
Does a missed or late payment impact your credit report?
When you sign up to a credit agreement, such as for a mortgage or mobile phone contract, you’re promising to abide by its rules. This includes when you’ve got to make repayments. The agreement will likely include how much you have to pay, and by when. If you miss one or more payments, you’re not fulfilling your end of the contract. This could impact not only that particular credit agreement, but also your credit report and your ability to obtain credit later on.
Missed or late payments are recorded on your credit report for six years. Lenders can view this if you’re applying for credit in this time. If you’ve missed payments, it may suggest to them that you’re in some sort of financial difficulty and may have trouble paying back any new credit repayments should they give you a loan. This could lead to your credit application being rejected or, if it’s accepted, at worse rates than you’d have received without the missed payments on your report.
What you could do if you’ve missed payments
If you’ve missed payments, here are some things that you can do:
- Contact your lender
If you know that you’re going to have to miss a payment, get in touch with your lender to see if they’re able to give you a little extra time to make the payment. Late repayments may potentially incur extra charges.
- Make the payment
If this was a short-term issue (for example, if you were temporarily unable to make the repayment or forgot to do so), make sure that you pay it back immediately. Late payments may incur fines, so you’ll have to pay those too.
- Set up regular payments
You may want to set up regular payments, such as direct debt, to ensure that you don’t miss any more payments.
- Get reminders
Some lenders offer reminders by email or text messages when payments are due. Opt in to these to make sure that you don’t forget. If this option isn’t available from your lender, you may want to set reminders in your own personal calendar.
- Get impartial debt advice
If missed payments are a long-term issue (for example, you’re not able to make repayments because of financial difficulty), they could snowball into or contribute to a larger debt problem. Get impartial debt advice from organisation like StepChange to see how you might be able to improve the situation, before the problem worsens or gets out of hand.
If you haven’t made repayments on your credit agreements, don’t ignore the issue. Missed or late payments may cause you some trouble, but taking the right steps could help to minimise the problem.
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