When you make a late payment on your credit card, your credit score will not always be immediately impacted. The behavior of the lender dictates the fate of your credit rating. These lender policies along with your own behaviors will determine whether the late payment is reported and how quickly it happens.

Lenders do not report late payments until they are at least thirty days late. Barry Paperno, a manager of consumer operations at myFICO.com says, “…not all lenders report late payments that are 30 days late.” The truth is that the vast majority of lenders will wait for at least two months before reporting your delinquency. In this scenario, a payment that is only a single month late will not affect your credit score. It will take the full 60 days for the tardiness to be reported to the credit bureaus.

Yet you also play a pivotal role in determining when (and if) the late payment will be reported to bureaus. If you have faithfully paid the minimum amount due on the credit card for a long period of time, then the credit card issuer will be less likely to quickly report the late payment to the bureaus. If you have consistently missed payment dates, then the credit card issuer will be jump at the opportunity to report your delinquency to the bureaus as you have demonstrated that you can not be trusted to pay the borrowed money back in a timely manner or at all.

If you are not sure of how many times you have missed payment dates, obtain a copy of your credit report. It will detail the number of times that you have made late payments on each credit card that has been taken out in your name. Keep in mind that merely one late payment of 30 days or more can cause your FICO credit score to decrease by 60 to 110 points.

It is important to note that most lenders do not report a late payment if it is made immediately after the scheduled due date. Credit card companies typically report the tardiness only if payment has not been received by the next due date. If you are in poor health or have been recently laid off from your job, pick up the phone and call the credit card issuer to explain your unique financial situation. They might be willing to work with you to lower your monthly payment and set up a payment plan schedule. Being proactive will help you avoid extra interest and late payment fees.

Brought to you by the editorial team from Best Credit Cards, a leading authority on consumer credit cards, credit scores and online financing tips.