Published Weekly at Credit Sesame & SmartCredit & Mint.com

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Jean Chatzky, Financial Editor for NBC’s Today Show and featured money coach on Oprah’s “Debt Diet” series.

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Credit Scoring Myth of the Day: You can be reported as being late to the credit bureaus even if you’re just one day late?

One of the common mistakes people make when discussing the topic of “late payments” is that lenders can report their customers as being “late” or “past due” even if they’re just one day late. This is incorrect and has been incorrect for decades. The credit reporting agencies have long had a uniform policy that they will only accept late payments once the consumer is a full 30 days past the due date. This policy is communicated via the Credit Reporting Resource Guide (CRRG), which is the reporting standards’ guide published each year by the Consumer Data Industry Association, the trade association of the credit reporting agencies.

According to the CRRG the “Industry Standard For Reporting Account Delinquency” is as follows: The “clock” for a 30-day delinquency starts 30 days after the due date, as opposed to the billing date.

The CRRG goes on the provide several examples/scenarios for reporting accounts that are in various stages of delinquency. For example:

Someone whose payment is 0 days past due has to be reported as being “Current and in good standing”
Someone whose payment is 17 days past due has to be reported as being “Current and in good standing”
Someone whose payment is 45 days past due has to be reported as being “30-59 days past the due date”
Someone whose payment is 76 days past due has to be reported as being “60-89 days past the due date”

The credit reporting options for reporting late payments does NOT include one for being 1-29 days late. It simply doesn’t exist. The options for reporting late payments start at 30 full days, and goes up from there. The options are as such:

30-59 days late
60-89 days late
90-119 days late
120-149 days late
150-179 days late
180 days late, or more

Any lender that attempts to report someone as being “late” before they are a full 30 days past the due date would have to choose from one of the six above late payment reporting options. As you can see, however, there is no option for being anything but at least 30 days late. So, a lender that did report someone as being 1-29 days late would be providing knowingly incorrect information to a credit reporting agency, which is a violation of Federal law. You can’t report someone as being 30-59 days late knowing that they’re only, for example, 15 days late.

John appears on FOX and discusses the Chase data breach

John appears on FOX and discusses how you can lower your credit card interest rates

John appears on Al Jazeera America and discusses the new FICO credit score

John is interviewed by ABC in Charlotte and discusses the new FICO credit score

John appears on FOX and discusses the new FICO credit score

John appears on FOX Business and discusses some of his favorite and unfavorite credit cards

John appears on FOX and discusses the Suze Orman prepaid debit card being discontinued

John appears on FOX and discusses the influence and accuracy of data brokers

John appears on ABC in Portland and discusses how your social media activity can impact your credit scores

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