6 Ways to Recover From a Missed Payment

 Smarter Borrower

When it comes to student loans, missing a payment can feel like the end of the world, or at least the beginning of a slippery slope. Even though they know a credit score is a huge deal, about 40 million Americans have missed a payment and possibly delayed their big dreams – whether that’s a home, car, or starting a family. If you’re in this number, here’s some hope.

Whether you’ve missed one or five student loan payments, here are six things you can do to squash the stress and start rehabbing your credit score to this year – no matter how much is in your wallet.

1. Act Fast

You aren’t the first person to miss a payment, and your student loan servicers knows that.

To get help, you have to connect with them ASAP. Whether online or via phone, get in contact to explore your options for adjusting your payment and helping bring your loans into good standing.

We know the anxiety of managing large debts can be paralyzing, but that paralysis is your worst enemy. Act now to start getting ahead of your debt whether you can or can’t make a payment.

If you CAN make the payment:

2. Contact Your Servicer and then Make the Payment

If you can make your payment, it’s best to do so as soon as possible. In addition, you should reach out to your servicer and ask about changing your due date, repayment plan, or potentially having any late fees waived (it can’t hurt to ask).

3. Consider Auto Payment

Auto payment is a good option to consider for federal student loans because it can actually save you money on interest, while ensuring payments are on time. Most servicers and lenders – both federal and private – offer this option.

If you CAN’T make the payment:

4. Ask about Forbearance and Deferment

If you can’t make the payment, you may have two options that will offer a short reprieve from having to make a payment: forbearance and deferment. Beware though – each has its own costs and benefits.

Deferment

Deferment is a period of time where both your payment and interest accrual are delayed (so, your loan balance won’t grow). When you call to investigate your options, ask about deferment first. It’s cheaper over the long haul, but it does delay the time you’ll be done paying for your loan.

Forbearance

With forbearance, your lender will reduce or excuse you from making payments for up to 12 months. It’s important to note that interest continues to accrue during this period (so, your loan balance grows). Forbearance can increase your repayment time and your total costs over the life of your loan.

5. Explore Alternate Repayment Plans and Lower Payments

Lastly, if you can’t pay your late student loan payment, it may be time to change your repayment plan. With your federal loans, there are eight repayment options that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. If you aren’t getting the Student Loan Genius benefit, your servicer representative can help you find the one that works best for you. If you do have the Student Loan Genius benefit, login to Genius Advisor and in a few clicks you can view and select a new repayment plan.

6. Ask Your Employer for Help

Today, hundreds of employers are offering student loan benefits where they match or help employees save on student loan payments. Those that aren’t offering the benefit are usually the ones that don’t know their employees need help. If your employer doesn’t have a student loan benefit program, ask your HR director to look into this new benefit that could save you hundreds.

If you’d like us to ask for you, just fill out the short form below to request a student loan benefit from your company.

Jovan Hackley