You might have heard the word “aging” being applied to a credit card account, but the more accurate term is actually “re-aging” or to “re-age” an account. Either way, they mean the same thing and refer to delinquent debt. When a credit card account is re-aged, it no longer appears as being past due.
If you’ve become delinquent on your credit card payments, you’ve been a bad customer. But if you promise you’ll be good from now on in a written letter that explains the reason you were late, your credit card company might agree to pretend you were never late and will stop charging late fees. That’s really what re-aging a credit card account means. If you pass certain standards, you might get to start with a clean credit record again. But your creditor is under no obligation to agree to re-age your account. Plus, you do need to mean what you say: If you promise you’ll make the payments on time and you fall behind again, the work you did to get your account re-aged would have been wasted.
Credit card companies follow guidelines set by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council before they even consider re-aging a delinquent account. You need to convince the company that you are ready, willing and able to make your credit card payments on time. Your account needs to be at least 9 months old, and you should make three minimum payments or one lump sum payment of the same amount first to show you mean business.
Credit card companies are limited regarding how often they can re-age your credit. Your account can be re-aged only one time in a 12-month period and twice in a five-year period. If you get into a debt-management program, your credit card company might re-age your credit, but you can have your credit re-aged only one time in a five-year period if you are in a debt management program.
Re-aging a credit card account is a good deal for you for two reasons: You avoid late payments, and your credit score should go up. When your account is re-aged, you are no longer delinquent. Your credit card issuer should report to the credit bureaus that you are current in your payments.
Make It Official
If your credit card issuer agrees to re-age your account, ask to get that in writing to make the deal official. Just to cover your bases, you can send a letter to a supervisor at the credit card company stating your re-aging agreement was made over the phone. State at the end of the letter that you believe the conversation acts as an agreement to re-age your account. Send the letter certified mail with a return receipt.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.