Don’t Let the Heat Get to You: Remember Bill Payment Dates This Summer

Millions of Americans take some time during the summer months to get away from their everyday lives by going on vacations, whether it's for a long weekend or an entire week, and during this time, they often try to keep the stresses of home as far from their minds as possible. However, doing so might come with a little bit of risk, particularly where the ability to make all monthly bill payments on time and in full is concerned.

When consumers go away for any period of time, they might run into an issue if that vacation also coincides with the point at which any of their monthly bills come due, particularly if they haven't taken the time to set up automated payments. The problems this can cause are myriad, depending on the accounts in question, because a missed deadline can not only result in penalty fees and rates that can make them more difficult to afford going forward, but also have a massive negative impact on even a good credit score and put borrowers in a more precarious position where all aspects of their finances are concerned.

Why is this the case?
The entire point of having a credit scoring system at all is to give lenders a quick and easy reference guide to a person's borrowing history with a simple three-digit number, which is then used to consider how risky an investment they might be for a prospective lender. A credit score takes all the information listed on a person's credit reports and condenses it to that score, which can run from 300 to 850, and the higher a person's score is, the better they have generally been with dealing with all their accounts in a responsible manner in the past, meaning they're less of a risk.

Of course, the biggest red flag for any lender to show that a borrower might not be capable of handling an account responsibly is their ability to make all their payments on time and in full every single month for as long as they have the debt outstanding. The problem with a missed payment, as far as lenders are concerned, is that even one can be predictive of future difficulties. And for this reason, payment history accounts for the largest single portion of one's scores, at 35 percent.

Consequently, even one missed deadline — regardless of whether it's forgotten for a month, a week, or in some cases, even a day — can do massive damage to what had previously been a strong credit rating, in some cases shedding hundreds of points from a person's score.

Unfortunately, while these issues may seem pressing and of extreme importance as part of a person's everyday lives, the subject might not even occur to them when they're on vacation. That can obviously pose some serious problems, and as such, it might be wise for borrowers to do a little more to make sure they're prepared for such an eventuality when the due dates on one or more of their accounts overlap with their getaways.

What can be done?
There are a number of ways consumers can make sure their bills are paid even when they're on vacation. In some cases it might be as simple as setting a reminder on their phone or computer that tells them to write the check in question and simply mail it from wherever they're staying. This can take just a few minutes and be as easy as it is any other month. Another potential option, obviously, is taking the time to set up an automated payment either through their bank or the company issuing the debt in the first place, which will deduct the necessary funds from their accounts as needed and ensure no deadlines go by the wayside.

Before leaving for a trip it might therefore be necessary to go through old bills and see when due dates come up every month, and make sure to cover all those that might come due while they're going to be away. Even those who are typically vigilant about making sure everything is dealt with might have something fall through the cracks if they're not as careful as possible before they leave home.

In addition to these preparations, borrowers might want to also take the time to order copies of their credit reports at some point around the time of their vacations, as a means of ensuring that there are no unfair markings having a potentially negative impact on their standings. If any of these entries are discovered at this time, it might be wise for affected consumers to contact a credit repair law firm, which may be able to help them sort out the problems as quickly as possible and return standings to where they deserve to be.