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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

Options for Higher Education

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

What you need to know about the IRS and collection agencies

Will being turned down for a store credit card hurt my credit?

Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

What do I need to know to pay ahead on my mortgage?

What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Q. My credit card company provides my credit score for free each month.  I’ve recently noticed that my credit score has dropped by 100 points. The only thing that might account for this drop is a single payment I missed. I knew I had missed it, but I caught up the payment the following month. Is it possible that one missed payment could cause my score to drop so significantly?

A. If I am interpreting your question correctly, it sounds like you didn’t make a late payment, but missed a payment entirely. Missing a whole month’s payment, even if you made it up the following month, means your account was at least 30 days delinquent. An account that is 30 days past due will undoubtedly impact your credit score.

When it comes to delinquencies, there is a difference between being late and being 30, 60 or 90 days past due. Let’s say your payment is due on the first of the month, and your creditor charges you a late fee if you make the payment after the tenth. In this case, if you make your payment any time between the 11th and the 31st of the month, your creditor will assess a late fee, but you are not 30 days late. So even though you’ve paid late, this information isn’t reported on your credit report. However, if you pay more than 30 days late, this information gets reported and will negatively impact your credit score.

For this reason, you should always avoid letting your accounts go more than 30 days late. Paying late is one thing, but paying over 30 days late is another thing entirely. When you find yourself in a situation of making a late payment, if at all possible, make the minimum amount due before your account goes more than 30 days late. 

Once you make the payment, then it is important to work on getting the payment caught up. You don’t want to waste your money on late fees—you work too hard for that. If you pay one account late every month, with an average late fee of $39, you will spend $468 in fees over the course of a year. If you routinely pay late on two accounts, you’ll spend over $1000 in late fees in a single year.

The worst part is you receive no benefit from paying late fees; you purchased nothing and saved nothing. If you are paying late fees, you are wasting your money. If you want to establish and keep good credit, you need to make all of your payments on time.

By gaining access to your credit score each month as you do with your credit card company—and paying attention to how your credit score rises or falls—you are becoming a more conscious consumer. To get even more information about your individual credit record, I encourage you to check your full credit report at

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.