Will not paying my card in full count as a late payment?

Dear James,

Great service and thorough website! My (rather naïve) question is this: I have always paid my credit card on time and always in full. If, say next month, I have a bill of £500 and the minimum is £50 but I decide to pay say £400 - does this constitute a missed payment and does it affect my credit score in any way if I do not pay the FULL amount, even if it is significantly over the minimum amount?

Maffy, London

Dear Maffy,

Thanks for the feedback. I’m pleased you like the website. We actually have some exciting improvements planned for this column and some new features too, so watch this space! On to your question. Your main obligations as a credit card holder are to stay within your credit limit and to make at least the minimum repayment every month. If you do this you should not see adverse payment codes registered on your credit report. Card firms actually share a little more information than other lenders through credit reference agencies like Experian. This includes details of whether or not you are making just the minimum repayment each month. If you do this on a regular basis it could, combined with other information, suggest you might be struggling with your finances – unless you were benefitting from a cheap promotional interest rate, in which case making the minimum payment is not seen as a warning sign. So just bear that in mind. But don’t worry that making anything other than the full payment on your cards will harm your credit rating, although if it led to you building up large balances then that could start to have an impact. (November 2013)

James
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