It can happen to anyone. A family emergency, a loss of income or a tough month that came out of nowhere. No matter the reason, you missed a due date.
Let’s take a look at what you can do, what can happen and ways to prevent missing another loan payment:
What you can do
Missing a payment is not the end of the world. First, call your lender and explain why you missed the due date. By taking responsibility and presenting your case, they may have payment options available that can help get your account back on track.
If you have a personal loan with OneMain Financial and missed a payment, you can call us at 1-800-961-5577.
Next, do your best to pay off the overdue amount quickly. If you need help coming up with the funds, look for ways to make some extra income. You might avoid additional late fees and interest charges if you pay it off sooner rather than later.
What can happen
If you fail to make your payment by its due date, you might be charged a late fee. The amount of the fee can vary by lender and be influenced by the type of loan, your remaining balance and how long the payment remains outstanding. Some lenders might offer a grace period, so refer to your signed loan agreement for details.
Making a late payment on a loan could also trigger a default rate or penalty interest rate. For example, if your interest rate is 18% for on-time payments, you could be charged up to 29.99% interest for that period.1 The lender also chooses when to impose the penalty rate, which may occur one day, 30 days or 60 days after the due date.
Finally, a late loan payment might negatively affect your credit. Under credit bureau reporting guidelines, a payment is not reported as delinquent until it is 30 days past due.2 That means if your payment is under 30 days late, it may not impact your credit report or credit score. Considering that payment history is a big factor in determining your credit score, in some cases up to 35%, it may be wise to pay your overdue balance before the 30-day mark.3
Ways to prevent missing another loan payment
Circling the due date on a paper calendar may not work for everyone. Instead, try signing up for email notifications from your lender. If you prefer notifications on your phone, create calendar alerts or set an alarm a few days before the payment is due. Once you find a strategy that works, stick to it until your loan is paid in full.
Another way to prevent missing a loan payment is changing your due date. Not all lenders offer this perk, but if you have an installment loan, such as an auto loan or personal loan, your odds could be favorable. The payment amount for this type of debt is the same each month, so the lender could be more flexible.
If you want a fail-proof way of paying on time, consider signing up for automatic payments. This payment method allows you to choose one date each month to have funds automatically withdrawn from your checking or savings account. In addition to never incurring late payment penalties, some lenders might offer biweekly automatic payments that could work better with your budget and pay schedule.
1. White, Taylor. “What Happens if I Miss One Loan Payment?”. Creditrepair.com. https://www.creditrepair.com/blog/credit-repair/what-happens-if-i-miss-one-loan-payment/ (accessed February 28, 2018).
2. Irby, LaToya. “Four Consequences of a Late Credit Card Payment.” TheBalance.com. https://www.thebalance.com/four-consequences-of-a-late-credit-card-payment-961070 (accessed February 22, 2018).
3. Simon, Jeremy M. and Porche, Brady. “Payment history: The most important credit score component.” CreditCards.com. https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/fico-credit-score-payment-history-1270.php (accessed February 22, 2018).