Ryan was in a tight spot, and late with the payment on his American Express account. The problem didn’t seem as scary as it could have been, though. The company’s Web interface offered him the opportunity to sign up for a payment plan, so he could pay down the outstanding balance over a period of as long as twelve months. Neat! But the plan didn’t quite have the credit-saving effects that he expected. He was reported to credit bureaus as delinquent during the entire repayment period. That’s how the plan works.