If your bills are past due, the sooner you can pay the bill, the better. The damaging effect of a late payment on your credit score can increase the longer the delinquency.
If you've made a late payment recently, you could attempt to do the following:
Request removal of a late payment fee. If you're in otherwise good standing with your bank, consider getting in touch with them and requesting that the late fee be forgiven and removed.
Work to reset your penalty interest rate. If a late payment caused your interest rate to increase, your issuer is generally required to reset your interest rate back to the pre-penalty rate if you make six months of on-time payments, so get back on track and start making on-time payments.
Pay all accounts on time. If a late payment caused your credit score to drop, the best thing you can do is to continue on-time payments on all of your accounts. After a few months of consistent on-time payments, your credit score could slowly improve. An easy way to prevent late payments is to set up automatic payments and email or text reminders on your financial accounts.
Finally, keep track of your overall credit health by checking your free credit reports on Credit Karma. We break down the factors that can affect your score, so you can keep an eye on your payment history along with other important areas. Paying on time every month could help you build good credit history and improve your credit score over time.