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Between patient appointments, running a practice, trying to fit in continuing education and dealing with personal obligations, staying on top of bills can be challenging.
Between patient appointments, running a practice, trying to fit in continuing education and dealing with personal obligations, staying on top of bills can be challenging. Add to that a doctor’s office feeling a cash crunch due to slow reimbursements, emergencies or other unexpected expenses, and putting off scheduled payments might seem like the best solution at the time. Or maybe a bill was simply overlooked.
The process of getting back on track from late or missed payments can be embarrassing and time-consuming. More importantly, they can affect a physician’s ability to secure credit in the future.
In the end, it will cost you more.
Miss a payment on anything from a mortgage to a medical student loan to a credit card, and it’s likely you could be charged a late fee. If you miss more than one payment, these fees can add up. Some credit card issuers increase the interest rate, which could be applied to both your current balance and new purchases.
Collection agencies will call … and call.
Nobody likes a collection call, even if it’s the most polite call you receive all day. If you have multiple consecutive missed payments, you may start to hear from collections. Their goal is to get you to pay, so expect continual calls. But you have patients to see. Do you really want to spend time on the phone explaining why you missed a payment, giving your checking account information, or promising to pay by a certain date?
It can hurt your credit report.
Late or missed payments on loans, credit cards or mortgages can be a factor as you apply for credit going forward. Once a creditor reports payment lapses to any of the three credit reporting agencies, negative accounts can stay on your credit report for seven years. In order to get these “bad marks” removed sooner, you must work with the creditor to whom you owe late payments,
or simply wait it out.
Your FICO score can drop.
According to myFICO, payment history is the largest of five factors used to determine your FICO score (35%), the standard credit score used in the U.S., so it pays to keep up with your credit accounts. The strength of your FICO score is an important factor for potential creditors and helps determine the terms and rates you’ll be offered on new purchases or refinancing loans.
You’ll feel the stress.
Knowing your bills are paid late is stressful. Lapses in payment and potential penalties will just add more stress to your busy life.