How to Cure a Credit Card Delinquency
The consequences of a credit card delinquency are too serious to ignore. Not only could you have to pay a late fee, your interest rate might increase to the highest default rate. Late payments past 30 days are reported to the credit bureaus monthly until you catch up again. The more serious the delinquency, the worse it is for your credit report.
You only have a certain amount of time to correct a credit card delinquency before the account is charged-off and sent to a collection agency. Both a charge-off and a debt collection are two of the worst types of entries that could be listed on your credit report. Do what you can to avoid both.
Find out how delinquent you are. Charge-off typically happens after you’ve become 180 days (six months) past due on your payment. The closer you are to the 180 day mark, the more serious you should be about getting caught up. Check your billing statements to figure out how far past due you are and also what payment is necessary to get caught up again.
Ask the card issuer for help. Your credit card issuer may be willing to waive a late fee or two. They may even forgive the lateness of your payment and re-age your account so that the late payments are erased from your account history. These courtesies are usually only given if your account is otherwise blemish-free.
Your credit card issuer may refuse to make any concessions on your behalf. Don’t get upset at their policies. After all, you can't blame the creditor for your lateness. Just accept the fate and move on to the next step.
Figure out how to catch up on the payment. The hardest part about curing a delinquency is making the lump sum payment necessary to bring your account into good standing again. The further behind you are, the bigger this payment will be. Look at your budget and expenses to see if there’s something you can cut back on to come up with the payment. Also consider selling some household valuables to add with the payment. It may be inconvenient, but it’s necessary to keep your account from being charged-off. You'll be glad you did the extra work to bring your account in good standing again.
Simply letting the account go to charge-off is a bad idea. Once the account is charged-off, the creditor will demand full payment on the account. And, if you can’t make full payment to the creditor, a collection agency will take over the account also asking for full payments, not installments. But, if you can cure the delinquency before charge-off happens, you can typically go back to making regular monthly payments just as you were before the account became delinquent.