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What Happens If You Don’t Pay a Credit Card?

Last Updated: August 25, 2022
3 min read

Let’s Learn About: What to Expect If You Don’t Pay Your Credit Card

  1. Missing a credit card payment can result in a late fee and affect your credit score

  2. If you’re experiencing financial hardship, you can contact your credit card issuer to discuss payment options

  3. If you miss multiple months in a row, your account may be reported as delinquent to credit bureaus, and/or transferred to a collection agency

Not paying a credit card bill can have a serious impact on your credit score which might make it difficult to secure future lines of credit. If you think you are going to miss your monthly credit card payment, reach out to your card issuer to see if they will set up a repayment plan.
Consider these repercussions and scenarios for what happens if you don’t pay your credit card, depending on how late your payment is and your credit card issuer’s terms and conditions.

You missed one Credit Card payment

Perhaps you lost a credit card statement or simply forgot to send your payment. Depending on your card issuer’s terms and conditions, you may be charged a late fee if you don’t pay your credit card bill on time. If you miss a payment, pay as soon as possible.

If you pay what you owe or make payment arrangements with your issuer before a full billing cycle passes, the missed payment may not show up on your credit report or be reported to the credit bureaus.

You haven’t paid your Credit Card for 60 days

If you haven’t paid your credit card bill for two months, you will likely be contacted by your credit card issuer about your overdue account. You will likely be charged late fees again, and depending on the issuer, the late fee may go up. After more than 30 days, the issuer may also report your account to credit reporting agencies, which may affect your credit score.

If you haven’t paid your credit card for more than 60 days, you may also be charged an interest rate penalty, meaning your APR could go up. This APR increase varies by issuer. Try to make the outstanding payments as quickly as you can, but if you can’t cover the outstanding amount, contact your credit card issuer.

What happens if you don’t pay your Credit Card for 6 months

If you fail to pay your credit card for more than 180 days, or six months, more serious consequences could occur on top of the late fees accumulating on your account and the impact to your credit score.

At any point throughout the six months, depending on the issuer’s terms, they may report an account as delinquent to credit bureaus. Also, many issuers may send your account to a Collection Agency to collect on the creditor’s behalf.

Your account is overdue and sent to a collection agency

If the credit issuer transfers the debt to a collection agency (though this is not always what happens), debt collectors may contact you for payment. If they’re unable to reach you or resolve the debt, the next step may be to take legal action to collect payment. Finally, all delinquencies may stay on your credit report for up to seven years.

When you understand that missed credit card payments can lead to unintended consequences, it can help you be more proactive. Prioritizing your financial wellness, including credit card management, may help you avoid some common mistakes that could impact your future.

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