Debt delinquency timeline: what to expect

Stage 1: 30 days past due
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Trigger: You just missed your payment due date and are 30 days behind the start of the billing cycle.

What to expect: Lenders likely won't sound any alarms, but instead will use so-called soft tactics to get your payment in. They will call, email and send letters, but all contact will be friendly and helpful, says Bruce McClary, media director of ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions. McClary has also worked as a debt collector. The creditor may also contact the credit reporting bureaus to report your account as delinquent.

Your options: If you know you’ll miss a payment, contact the lender first, says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at The creditor will be more likely to work with you if you reach out first. If you don't and the creditor contacts you, don't avoid the call. Explain your financial dilemma to your creditor so you both can work out a payment plan.




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