Most of us have been there. You are trying to keep your head above water as you juggle so many different things. And then you wake up one day to realize that you forgot to make your student loan payment. It is not uncommon for someone to forget making payment, but if you find yourself in this boat, then the first thing you should do is take a deep breath. Then you should take immediate steps to get your account out of delinquency. Here is the process you should go through to achieve this goal.

Contact Your Lender Immediately

After realizing that you are late on a payment, you should call your lender immediately. You don’t need to come up with a complex story according to “You Missed A Student Loan Payment. Now What?” Just simply explained what happened and go from there.

Once you have explained to them why you missed your payment, you should determine what sort of late fees your payment may be subject to. No matter what the fees are, you should make the payment over the phone if possible, that way your lender gets their money as soon as possible.

Missing a payment on your student loan can have negative consequences in regards to your credit score. Hopefully, your lender did not report it to the credit bureaus immediately. However, if that is the case, you can write a letter to your lender in the effort to have the report removed. There is no guarantee that this will remove the report, but it is an action that you can try, especially if you are worried about your credit score before making a major financial purchase such as a new car or your first home.

In general, if you are delinquent for 90 days, most federal student loans servicers will report the late payment to all three major credit bureaus. Some might only wait until the 45-day mark of being delinquent. According to Student Loan Hero, for every thirty days your payment is late, “your delinquency will continue to be reported.” If you go 270 days being delinquent, your delinquent loans will go into default, which is something that should not be taking lightly.

If your loan goes into default, that means the full amount of the loan becomes due immediately, including all penalties, accrued interest, and fines. If you can’t make the payment in full, the federal government can start garnishing your wages up to 15% and take your tax return.

Some of the best strategies to prevent missing a payment is setting up automatic payments with your loan servicer. If you are juggling a lot of different student loans, then you can consider consolidating your loans, which could lower your interest rate. If you are struggling to make payments in general, you should contact your lender and see if you qualify for forbearance or deferment. Furthermore, for federal loans, you can perhaps get into a repayment plan that will make it more affordable for you to pay each month.