I just realized that i forgot to make my Dec 12 auto loan pmt (HSBC Auto Finance). They called yesterday (Jan 12) about it and had already sent it to THEIR "collections department". I made the necessary double pmt to bring into good standing online, and although they say that takes up to 24 hours to post to my acct, the guy from collections made a note of my confirmation # on my account history. It's a balance of $3500 (prior to today's pmt) on a refinance I opened with them in September-ish of 2006.
I don't want that 30 day going on my history, but their customer service says it just automatically reports my account status every month to the credit bureaus. So, if it does show up, how much will such a thing drop my scores and is there a strategy I can implement to counter that drop? I could easily pay that remaining balance today if I had to, but I'd rather leave that cash in the bank. Somebody in one of the other forums said that paying off an auto loan early could drop my scores a few points. That doesn't seem right, but I guess stranger things happen.
But if that is the case, would intensifying my efforts to pay off cc debt be enough at some level to regain those points if lost? I've already been adding $$ to my monthly payments on a few cc's in order to get the balances paid way down, if not to zero.
Like my subject line says, I am in the pre-approval stage of 1st time home buyership. This is why I'm stressing so much about this bone headed mistake of mine. Any and all reasonable advice on a good strategy for what seems to be a damage control issue at this point is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.