How Much Does A Late Bill Affect Your Credit Score?

Building your credit (and keeping it up) can feel like you’re playing the world’s most challenging obstacle course. The three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — use complicated algorithms to determine your creditworthiness. 

Unfortunately, those processes are top secret. This makes it even harder to forecast the repercussions of a late bill or to borrow more money.

Even so, experts warn that some missed payments can significantly impact your credit score — particularly if you have a good one. Eric Espinoza, who directs research and advocacy at Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners, told Money.com that “The higher you are, the harder you’re going to fall in terms of score.” 

Of course, other things also affect your credit rating, such as your credit history and how many lines of credit you open. Precise percentage declines are difficult to determine, but some overarching principles are relevant to most people. Money.com explains what happens to your credit score when you pay specific bills late.

Your Mortgage Payment

Point drop: 60-80 for your first late bill

One of the most efficient methods to build your credit rating is getting a mortgage and paying each statement on time. However, just one late payment can cause a rapid fall. And if the lender forecloses your home, your credit score could plummet as far as 150 points, according to Espinoza.

On the other hand, late rent bills typically are not reported to the credit bureaus unless a third-party debt collector buys your debt. 

Also, if you are eligible for mortgage forbearance thanks to the CARES Act or for another reason, and your lender sent you an official forbearance contract, those missed payments will not go on your credit report, either.

Your Credit Card Statement

Point drop: 25-85 (over 30 days late)

Late credit card payments are nothing to mess with. Not only do they send your credit tumbling, but your lender will likely hit you with extra penalties or interest. 

Suppose you’re only a couple of days late. In that case, you likely won’t get penalized, so paying your bill as soon as you can “will help to limit the impact on your credit score,” notes Colleen McCreary, a consumer financial advocate from Credit Karma.

Your score will begin to nosedive after about 30 days of nonpayment, McCreary explains. It will fall even more if you delay for more than 90 days.

Your Utility Bill

Point drop: 0 (if paid in six months)

McCreary explained that late utility bills are not sent to the credit bureaus, so you will only get penalized if a collections agency buys your debt.

Your Car Payment

Point drop: 25-85 (over 30 days late)

If your car payment is late, your lender will treat it similarly to a late credit card payment, but with a marginally extended grace period. Generally, this window of opportunity lasts around ten days.

However, you should remember that missing several car payments increases your risk of repossession. If you have several outstanding debts, you might want to focus on paying your auto loan first, suggests Thomas Nitzsche, a financial educator at Money Management International, a nonprofit financial counseling group.

“My clients in crisis have to prioritize…for most people, a car payment is how they are going to get to work,” he told Money.com.

Your Internet Bill

Point drop: 0 (if paid in six months)

Streaming, internet, and phone providers don’t report your payment activity to the credit agencies, which means a late internet bill won’t affect your credit rating if you pay it in less than 180 days.

But while a missed internet payment won’t hurt your score, you should still pay it as soon as you can to avoid penalty fees. Not only that, your internet provider may send your bill to collections. “For those clients who put their head in the sand and wish it away, they are bound to get more damage,” Nitzsche notes.

Your Medical Bill

Point drop: 0 (if paid in six months)

It’s not uncommon for someone to receive a surprise medical bill. Fortunately, these payments don’t hurt your credit unless you put it off for an extended period. “An unpaid medical debt will not be included in your credit report unless it is 180 days or more past due,” says Rod Griffin, Experian’s senior director of consumer education and advocacy.

Your Student Loans

Point drop: 90-110 (if paid after 30 days)

According to McCreary, a late student loan payment Missing a student loan “can result in a number of consequences, such as delinquencies, defaulting, and, potentially, a ding to your credit score.”

If you borrowed a federal student loan, the CARES Act currently allows deferred payments with no interest or penalties until the end of this year. However, once this measure expires, you will need to pay your monthly statement starting in January.

 

Source
  • Dizik, Alina. “7 Missed Bills and What They Do To Your Credit Score.” Money, 11 Nov. 2020, money.com/how-late-payment-affects-credit-score/.
Ian Schindler