Great advice, I just learned the hard way. Now I've set up automatic recurring payments on my CCs to prevent it ever again!
Thanks for bumping this, whoever did! This should be stickied, if its not already. You are penalized way too harshly for lates - I'm dealing with lates from 2 years ago! Even the utility companies return your deposit after 12 months no lates, and inquiries lose impact after 12 months.
I think a lot of people don't equate late with not paying. Its definitely a certain mindset you have to get into, where paying late is like a deadly sin, lol.
I have set up auto-pay wherever possible, but I'm in my accounts daily anyway so its not difficult to always know what's due.
I did the score simulator or estimator at one of the sites and it showed me anywhere from 80-100 point increase if I can get those lates removed from 2010, so I'm waiting on the response from a GW letter.
This can't be stressed too many times - NEVER EVER BE LATE!
Recent late payments affect your credit score more than aged late payments, up to about the 2 year mark. However, late payments remain on the credit report for 7 years with the account being reported as a negative account.
Even though my credit score is in the high 700s, I'm looking forward to June, 2015 when my only delinquent account is scheduled to go into positive status.
Minimum payments should be mandatory by law. If that overdraws your checking account, so be it!
PS: I happened to stumble over an old thread on automatic payments and agree that the bank shouldn't be assigned the task. What happened to hauling by the way?
I second automatic payments for the minimum as the best safety measure against late payments and associated fees.