So this just happened to me recently and I'm worried. I've been between jobs and making heavy use of my single credit card recently. The card was set up by my bank to make automatic payments of the entirety of the credit card balance from my checking account.

Now since I've been out of a job I've still made sure to always pay at the very least 20x the minimum monthly payment requirements. I've done so in a timely fashion most often days in advance of the due date. Never missed a single payment ever. Over these past months however the automatic payments have still been made on the due date and have bounced. I never thought much of this as I've been making decent payments manually to the card but recently I had contacted the bank to stop doing it out of sheer comfort.

A couple of days ago I had the credit card account closed by the providers because of these failed payments. It sucks but more than that I'm worried that this will affect my credit rating. I've checked my score via my online banking system and things seem to be normal but it might just not have registered yet.

So My question is. Is my credit score going to be hit? If so what can I do about it? Can I contact the creditors to appeal the decision and get them to not affect my score at the very least? I know they won't restore the account without another credit check). Is there anything that can be done directly with the credit score companies?

Thanks for your help.

In the meantime I plan to continue clearing my balance on that card.

  • 1
    Bouncing payments do have a transaction cost, so this is not a null but a minus in the books of the credit company. You should always avoid letting payments bounce!
    – Daniel
    Oct 26, 2017 at 12:24
  • Yes it will affect your credit, but not as much as missing payments on the debt, which remains even if the credit line is closed, and not as much as missing payments on other bills... So it is more important that you focus on finding a new job and making all payments on time, than worrying about your credit score which will be fine if you make all payments on time. (moved to comment and slightly elaborated)
    – Xalorous
    Oct 30, 2017 at 20:47

4 Answers 4


There are two factors in your credit score that may be affected.

The first is payment history. Lenders like to see that you pay your bills, which is the most straightforward part of credit scores IMO. If you've actually been paying your bills on time, though, then this should still be fine.

The second factor is the average age of your open accounts. Longer is considered better here because it means you have a history of paying your bills, and you aren't applying for a bunch of credit recently (in which case you may be taking on too much and will have difficulties paying them). If this card is closed, then it will no longer count for this calculation. If you don't have any other open credit accounts, then that means as soon as you open another one, your average age will be one day, and it will take a long time to get it to "good" levels; if you have other matured accounts, then those will balance out any new accounts so you don't get hit as much.

Incidentally, this is one of the reasons why it's good to get cards without yearly fees, because you can keep them open for a long time even if you switch to using a different card primarily.

  • 1
    In addition, once the balance is paid in full, the completion of payment should be noted in your history. Total utilization will be affected, as will total credit available, total credit used, and number of accounts.
    – Xalorous
    Oct 20, 2017 at 11:45

You need to find out if the credit card has been reporting these failed automated payments as late or missed payments to your credit report. To do this, go to annualcreditreport.com (the official site to get your free credit reports) and request your report from all three bureaus. If you see late or missing payments reported for the months where you made a payment but then they did an automatic payment anyway, you should call up the credit card company, explain the situation, and ask them to retract those negative reports. If they refuse, you should dispute the reports directly with the credit bureaus. If they have been reporting late payments even though you have been making the payments, that will impact your credit much more than the fact that they closed your account.

Unfortunately, they can turn off your credit account for any reason they like, and there isn't much you can do about that. Find yourself another job as soon as you can, get back on your feet, pay off your debt, and think very carefully before you open another credit card in the future. Don't start a new credit card unless you can ensure that you will pay it off in full every month.


As documented in MyFICO (http://www.myfico.com/credit-education/whats-in-your-credit-score/), there are several factors that affect credit scores.

Payment history (35%)

The first thing any lender wants to know is whether you've paid past credit accounts on time. This is one of the most important factors in a FICO® Score.

As @Ben Miller mentioned, checking your credit report to determine whether or not late payments were reported to credit bureaus will give you a sense of whether or not this was effected. You mentioned several bounced payments, which certainly could have caused this. This would be my largest concern with a closed account, is to investigate why and what was reported to the bureaus, and in turn, other lenders. Also, since this has the highest impact on credit scores (35%), it's arguably, the most important.

This is further detailed here, which details the public record and late payment effect on your score.

Amounts owed (30%)

Having credit accounts and owing money on them does not necessarily mean you are a high-risk borrower with a low FICO® Score....However, when a high percentage of a person's available credit is been used, this can indicate that a person is overextended, and is more likely to make late or missed payments.

Given that this card was closed, whatever your credit limit was is now no longer added into your total credit limit. However, your utilization on that card is gone (assuming it gets paid off), depending on any other credit lines, and since you reported "heavy use" that could be a positive impact, though likely not.

Length of credit history (15%)

In general, a longer credit history will increase your FICO® Scores. However, even people who haven't been using credit long may have high FICO Scores, depending on how the rest of the credit report looks.

Depending how old your card was, and particularly since this was your only credit card, it will likely impact your average age of credit lines, depending on other lines of credit (loans etc) you have open. This accounts for about 15% of your score, so not as large of an impact as the first two.

Credit mix in use (10%)

FICO Scores will consider your mix of credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts and mortgage loans.

Given that this was your only credit card, your loan mix has been reduced (possibly to none).

New credit (10%)

Research shows that opening several credit accounts in a short period of time represents a greater risk - especially for people who don't have a long credit history.

This focuses on credit inquiries, which as you mentioned, you will likely have another either re-opening this credit card or opening another at some point in the future.

Regardless, paying off the rest of that card is a priority, as interest rates on average credit cards are over 13%, and often higher (source). This rate comes into play when not paying the balance in full every month, and also as @Ben Miller suggested, I would not utilize a credit card without being able to pay it in full. It can often be a dangerous cycle of debt.


So My question is. Is my credit score going to be hit?

Yes it will affect your credit. Not as much as missing payments on the debt, which remains even if the credit line is closed, and not as much as missing payments on other bills...

If so what can I do about it?

Not very much. Nothing worth the time it would take. Like you mentioned, reopening the account or opening another would likely require a credit check and the inquiry will add another negative factor.

In this situation, consider the impact on your credit as fact and the best way to correct it is to move forward and pay all your bills on time. This is the number one key to improving credit score.

So, right now, the key task is finding a new job. This will enable you to make all payments on time. If you pay on time and do not overspend, your credit score will be fine.

Can I contact the creditors to appeal the decision and get them to not affect my score at the very least? I know they won't restore the account without another credit check). Is there anything that can be done directly with the credit score companies?

Depending on how they characterize the closing of the account, it may be mostly a neutral event that has a negative impact than a negative event. By negative events, I'm referring to bankruptcy, charge offs, and collections. So the best way to recover is to keep credit utilization below 30% and pay all your bills and debt payments on time.

(You seem to be asking how to replace this line of credit to help you through your unemployment.)

As for the missing credit line and your current finances, you have to find a way forward. Opening new credit account while you're not employed is going to be very difficult, if not impossible. You might find yourself in a situation where you need to take whatever part time gig you can find in order to make ends meet until your job search is complete. Grocery store, fast food, wait staff, delivery driver, etc.

And once you get past this period of unemployment, you'll need to catch up on all bills, then you'll want to build your emergency fund. You don't mention one, but eating, paying rent/mortgage, keeping current on bills, and paying debt payments are the reasons behind the emergency fund, and the reason you need it in a liquid account.

Source: I'm a veteran of decades of bad choices when it comes to money, of being unemployed for periods of time, of overusing credit cards, and generally being irresponsible with my income and savings. I've done all those things and am now paying the price. In order to rebuild my credit, and provide for my retirement, I'm having to work very hard to save. My focus being financial health, not credit score, I've brought my bottom line from approximately 25k in the red up to about 5k in the red. The first step was getting my payments under control.

I have also been watching my credit score. Two years of on time mortgage payments, gradual growth of score. Paid off student loans, uptick in score. Opened new credit card with 0% intro rate to consolidate a couple of store line of credit accounts. Transferred those balances. Big uptick. Next month when utilization on that card hits 90%, downtick that took back a year's worth of gains. However, financially, I'm not losing 50-100 a month to interest.

TLDR; At certain times, you have to ignore the credit score and focus on the important things. This is one of those times for you. Find a job. Get back on your feet. Then look into living debt free, or working to achieve financial independence.

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