Credit cards can help California consumers build and maintain good credit scores, but only with responsible use and timely payments. Otherwise, if payments are missed, California credit card users run the risk of falling into credit card delinquency. Once a creditor declares an account delinquent, they report this negative information to at least one of the major credit bureaus. Then, the delinquent consumer’s credit score drops. Because credit card delinquency can cause significant credit score damage, California consumers should make all of their credit card payments on time. However, consumers who fall into delinquency can escape if they act quickly.
The Credit Card Delinquency Timeline for California Credit Card Users
Normally, if California credit card users miss only one payment, it is not reported to the credit bureaus. This means that, in most cases, the consumer has the opportunity to make up the missed payment – plus a late fee – when the next bill arrives. Yet, if the consumer misses another payment, the creditor reports the account as officially delinquent.
On credit reports, the credit reporting agencies mark credit card delinquencies according to their severity. They are listed as 30-days, 60-days, 90-days, or 120-days delinquent. Unfortunately, each level of delinquency causes more credit score damage. Then, if the credit card issuer writes off the account and sends it to debt collections, the account holders credit score plummets. This is why it is important for California consumers to get out of credit card delinquency as quickly as possible. Fast action minimizes the credit damage.
Common Mistakes Made by Delinquent Credit Card Users in California
In order for California consumers to escape credit card delinquency, they must make up the missed minimum payment(s) and cover the late fee(s). If a delinquent consumer only makes the minimum payment during the next billing cycle, the credit card issuer still considers the account delinquent. Instead, the account holder should pay the amount listed as “total amount due.”
Also, paying less than the minimum payment does nothing to alter a delinquent status. Some California credit card users believe that any amount paid toward their balance does some good. However, this is not the case. In fact, if a consumer makes a credit card payment that is less than the minimum amount due, it doesn’t even count as a payment. The creditor proceeds with reporting the account as delinquent, and the consumer’s credit score drops.
How California Consumers Can Escape Credit Card Delinquency
Again, California consumers can escape the credit score damaging effects of delinquency by acting quickly. Ideally, if you miss one payment, you should make it up right away so that the creditor reports no negative information to the credit bureaus. Yet, you can still make up the payments even if you miss two or three. Only, after a credit card issuer reports your account as delinquent, this negative information stays on your credit report for about seven years.
At this point, you can make the negative item on your credit reports matter less by practicing good credit habits from now own. Any California consumer working against a reported credit card delinquency should pay all of their bills on time and keep their credit card balances low. Then, in time, they can restore their credit score to its pre-delinquency high.
If, however, your credit card delinquency leads to a charged off account that goes to debt collections, recovery is more difficult. Not only that, but you will most likely face letters and phone calls from debt collectors. For a long time after your account goes to debt collections, you may find it difficult to get new loans or credit cards.
So, once you are ready to restore your credit, your best option is likely a secured credit card. For California consumers with tarnished credit, secured credit cards are easier to get. Creditors who offer these cards require a cash deposit to offset the risk posed by credit card applicants with low credit scores. Once approved, you should use your secured credit card sparingly, and try to keep your balance at or below 30% of your spending limit. Then, after making several months of timely payments, your credit score should show signs of improvement.
Another Strategy for California Consumers Working to Improve their Credit Scores
California credit card users working to improve their credit scores should regularly check their credit reports. When they do, they may find that mistakes and errors are bringing down their credit scores. Sadly, creditors and the credit bureaus frequently misreport items and mishandle consumer information. When they do, inaccuracies appear on credit reports and sometimes cause credit scores to drop.
Fortunately, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) entitles consumers in California and every other state to accurate credit reports. Yet, you must find credit report errors before demanding their removal. So, take advantage of another federal statute known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). Under this statute, you may request one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus every 12 months. Just go to www.annualcreditreport.com, to get credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian all in one place.
Then, while going over your credit reports, if you find mistakes and errors are harming your credit score, call Credit Repair Lawyers of America in California. When you contact our firm, an experienced credit attorney, will get to work on resolving your credit issues. In California, this is the easiest and best way to get clean credit reports for FREE.
The Free and Legal Way to Get Better Credit in California
Don’t let errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in settled cases. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (916) 438-9400 or sending him a message through our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair, please visit https://www.creditrepairlawyersam.com/california/credit-repair-ca/.