MISS A STUDENT LOAN payment? It never hurts to send a goodwill letter to the lender explaining what happened.

Missed loan payments could hurt your credit if you don’t act fast. Whether you were strapped for cash or forgot to set up a payment before going out of town, that late payment could show up on your credit report and ding your credit score.

What Happens If My Student Loan Payment Is Late?

While late payment fees may apply immediately, you usually have at least 30 days before your missed student loan payment is reported to the three major credit bureaus.

Generally, private lenders will report your late payment after 30 days of delinquency. If you have a federal student loan from the U.S. Department of Education, late payments are reported after 90 days.