What Does It Mean to Be Past Due on an Account?

A billing statement with a past due stamp
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When an account is past due, that means no payment was applied to the account as of the last payment due date. Your account technically becomes past due the day you miss a payment. The account will remain in a past due status until you make the required minimum payment to bring it current.

When your credit card account is past due, you’re subject to late fees, an interest rate increase, and suspension of your purchasing ability.

On a rewards credit card, becoming past due can forfeit all the rewards you've earned. Past due can apply to any account that requires regular monthly payments.

What Happens When You're Past Due

Even though your account can become past due the day you miss a payment, you have time before the past due status affects your credit rating. At 30 days past due, your credit report will be updated to show that you're 30 days late. Once the past due status is reported to the credit bureaus, it will affect your credit score. The more past due you become, the more it hurts your credit score.

At 180 days past due, many accounts are considered to be in default and are charged-off. You'll no longer have the option to catch up on the past due balance and resume regular minimum payments. Instead, you'll be required to pay the balance in full. The account may be assigned or sold to a collection agency for further collection.

You may be charged a late fee each month that you're past due. Because these fees accumulate, the longer you go past due, the more it will cost to get caught up on your payments. After you're 60 days past due on your credit card account, your lender can increase your interest rate to the highest penalty rate.

In some cases, the penalty rate can remain in effect for any new balance even after you've paid your account current.

Grace Period Before Past Due

Some lenders give a payment grace period beyond the due date during which your payment can be received without penalty. For example, if your payment is due on the 5th of the month and you have a 10-day grace period, you’ll be considered past due on the 15th of the month. (Note: this is different from the credit card grace period that gives you a chance to avoid interest charges by paying your balance in full.)

Past Due Amount

Your credit card statement will include a past due amount which will be much higher than your regular monthly payment depending on how past due your account has become. The past due amount is a sum of the minimum payments you've missed plus late fees that have been added to your account since your last payment due date.

Getting Out of Past Due Status

You can bring your account out of the past due status by paying the minimum payment plus any late fees and interest that have been added to your balance. Once you've paid the past due balance, you'll stop accumulating late fees and your credit card issuer will report a "current" status to the credit bureaus for that month forward.

If your credit card issuer raised your APR to the penalty rate, it will return to the regular APR after you've made six consecutive timely payments.

If you cannot afford to pay the full amount required to bring your account current, you should talk to your creditor or lender about payment options available to you. Your credit card issuer may be able to offer a payment arrangement that will make it easier to get your account out of past due status. Some lenders can apply forbearance to your account and add the past due amount to the balance of your loan and bring you out of past due status.