Has paying my credit card too early destroyed my credit rating?

Dear James,

My credit card company have marked a payment as late because it was paid three days too early.  Can they do this? There is nothing in the terms or conditions which says this is unacceptable.  Their argument is that the payment was attributed to June even though it was made in July. Has this now destroyed my credit rating?

Annemarie, London

Dear Annemarie,

The key here is the payment due date on the account, which you’ll find detailed on your statements each month. From what you say it sounds like the payment you intended to make towards your July statement actually reached your account before the due date for your June statement and was therefore counted as a payment towards your June bill. As you are contracted to make at least the minimum payment towards each statement, your card provider is registering a missed or late payment for July. It seems a little harsh, given the circumstances, even though technically they’re in the right. Check your credit report to see whether they have sent a late payment to the credit reference agencies and, if they have, perhaps try writing to their head office to ask them to reconsider.

If the card company refuses, send a short note to the credit reference agencies explaining what has happened. Assuming you’ve since caught up the missed payment, there’ll only be a small blip on your credit report. And if everything else is in order this is unlikely to have much of an effect on your credit rating. If you are worried about this, you can monitor your Experian Credit Score for free, which will help put things into perspective. To help make sure this doesn’t happen again I would encourage you set up direct debits to cover this and other regular payments. If you want flexibility in how much you repay each month you can always opt for minimum automatic payments and then top them up manually if necessary. (November 2012)

James
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