I hope to enter a hardship plan for one of my Synchrony Bank retail cards this month. However, I want to make sure I don't end up with a 30-day "baddies" on my credit reports like I did nearly seven years ago.
Can someone confirm that creditors, or at least Synchrony Financial, will only report cardholders as 30 days late if they haven't paid the "real" amount due, per the billing statement, rather than just the hardship payment?
I ask because I plan on getting on the automatic payment hardship plan but also making an additional payment on my own to cover what's "truly" due to avoid a 30-day late, if that makes sense.
There are different ways to phrase what I'm asking about. So, let me ask the question this way, too:
Can someone confirm that creditors do NOT automatically report consumers 30 days late just because they're on a hardship plan? Will they acknowledge an "extra" payment made outside of the hardship terms or will they disregard it?
Still not clear? Here's another way to get at what I'm trying to address:
Can someone confirm that creditors like Synchrony can only report consumers as "late" ONLY if they have NOT paid the original or "true" amount due? I'd like to think that is what is legally allowed, which is how some folks end up with baddies: they're not paying what's "truly" due per the original billing agreement, no?
I think my planned approach is the "trick" to avoid baddies on a hardship program, if one actually has the funds, at least with some creditors like Synchrony and American Express, no? Get on the hardship program but pay an additional amount initially, if you can, to ensure the "real" past due amount is addressed?
I was on a hardship program with Discover last year and never received a baddie. So, I realize not all creditors are slick like Synchrony Bank.
Finally, I'd like to add that I'm already nervous to get on this program. I already own two other cards with Synchrony that are current. I don't want those cards to get closed just because I'm on a hardship plan with one card.
If anyone is wondering why I'm getting on a hardship program even though I can afford the "extra" payment, it's because I am experiencing a hardship. Generally, I can barely afford the minimum payment or just barely above the minimum payment. But often enough, I can't. That was the case this month and this has been going on for a while. I've had enough.
I'm working on finding a better-paying job right now to address this matter permanently. In the interim, I'm only getting by because of my side hustle job, which produces inconsistent income. It seems like every other paycheck, my minimum bills due exceed the amount that I have earned during the biweekly pay period in which the card payments are due. It's usually a $200-400 shortfall.
I am prioritizing paying the cards that I care about the most. I decided to let this Synchrony retail card go, if need be. I'm wiling to close the card for a reduced payment, lower APR and waived late fees. This is going to affect my score temporarily but the pros outweigh the cons.
I entered and completed a couple hardship plans with the bank about seven years ago when it was known as GE Capital. Like many people entering such plans, I wrongfully assumed my account would report as current. Instead, 30 and 60 day lates landed on my report because the amount due, per the billing agreement and not the temporary hardship agreement, went unpaid.
I don't feel this approach is dishonest because I am experiencing a genuine hardship. I don't think one has to have layoff in order to have a hardship. I've been able to navigate this temporary hardship with a side job on top of my corporate 9-5 doing terrible but legal things like taking a maxed out card with only $3 of available credit and using it to fill up my entire gas tank. Most stations charge $1 for authorization, which most creditors ('cept for American Express) allow. As such, I can fill up my entire tank on $1.