about missed payments

About missed payments

A missed payment is when you’ve not made a repayment due under a credit agreement. For example – missing that month’s credit card repayment. These are reported to a Credit Reference Agency (CRA). In addition to loans and credit cards, credit accounts reported include gas, electricity and mobile phone contracts.

A repayment is marked as missed at the CRA after a 14 day ‘grace period’.

Missed payments are shown as a single digit.

So ‘1’ means you’ve missed one payment and ‘5’ means you’ve missed 5 consecutive payments. The table below shows what a lender might see:

If you miss six payments or more, the lender may record a default against you. The default will remain on your file for at least three years. Some creditors will see this information going back six years.

When a lender considers your loan application, they will see the current status of your account. A recent ‘1’ missed payment is almost certain to lead to your application being declined. Some lenders may interpret this as you being in financial difficulty, right now.

Additionally, the worst status for the last 12, 24 and 36 months is displayed. Consequently, even if you’ve cleared a missed payment, your credit file will state if you missed any repayments over the last three years.

Why are missed payments important?

One or two missed payments might not be too serious. These are referred to as ‘early delinquency’. However, even one missed payment reduces your credit score. If you have three missed payments, lenders often consider this to be ‘sustained delinquency’. Unless this happened some time ago, it is likely to lead to a rejection of your application.

When you’ve reached between three and six missed payments, you may be declared in default.

Defaults are more serious. Often a lender will automatically decline an application if there has been a default.

About Adrian Davies

With a background in money advice, Adrian's been campaigning for fairer finance for 25 years.

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