Late payments on your credit report can significantly impact your credit scores, making it difficult to obtain loans or favorable interest rates. To start repairing your credit history, it’s essential to understand how late payments affect your credit scores and explore the most effective methods for late payment removal.
How do late payments affect your credit score?
Just one late or missed payment on your credit report can severely damage your credit scores. A recent late payment, whether for a car, credit card, or mortgage, can cause your FICO score to drop by 90 to 110 points.
The effect on your credit score lessens over time until the late payment is removed from your credit report. However, potential creditors can still see your payment history as long as it’s listed.
Late payments are categorized as 30, 60, 90, or 120-plus days late, each with different effects on your credit scores. The later and more recent the payment, the more damage it does to your credit history.
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When do late payments get reported?
Creditors typically report a late payment to credit bureaus once they reach 30 days past due. However, some may not report at all, particularly for good clients, while others may wait until the account is closed.
A missed payment that is 90 days late or more affects your credit even more and may be turned into a charge-off if the creditor sells the outstanding balance to a collection agency. To avoid additional harm, it’s essential to pay the late payment.
How long do late payments stay on your credit report?
Late payments remain on your credit report for up to seven years regardless of whether they are 30 or 60 days late. However, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wait up to seven years before being able to get a mortgage, car loan, or any other type of credit again.
Your credit scores will steadily rise as time goes on. Even better is that there are several ways to get late payments permanently deleted or updated.
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect based on the lateness of your payment:
- Less than 30 days late: If you miss the due date but catch up before the 30-day mark, you’re in the clear. Creditors typically don’t report late payments to credit bureaus until they’re 30 days overdue, but they typically still charge late fees.
- 30 or more days late: Once your payment is 30 days past due, it will make its way onto your credit report. Don’t forget to cover the late payment – make sure to address it as soon as you can.
- Over 60 days late: Failing to make up the late payment and missing the next due date results in a 60-day late notice on your credit report, further damaging your credit scores. Multiple missed payments can lead to additional notices, account closure, and even debt being sent to a collection agency.
How to Remove Late Payments From Your Credit Report
Late payments can be deleted or updated to “never late” on your credit report. It’s actually quite easy if you do it correctly, and you can choose from a few different options.
The method you should select depends on your general credit history, your relationship with the creditor, and the amount of time or money you’re willing to put towards these efforts.
Here is an overview of four ways you can successfully remove a late payment from your credit report.
1. Request a Goodwill Adjustment
This is an ideal option if you generally have a good payment history with your creditor and have been a customer for a while.
By requesting a goodwill adjustment, you can ask the creditor to remove the late payment from your credit reports as a gesture of goodwill since you’ve otherwise been a great customer.
To do this, write a goodwill letter to the credit card issuer or lender explaining your situation. Credit card companies have some flexibility when it comes to reporting late or missed payments. They can remove a late payment from your credit report under the right circumstances.
Did you have an unexpected expense arise last month that made you late? Are you trying to perfect your credit score so you can get a mortgage or an auto loan?
Include your personal story in the goodwill letter so that the customer service representative reading your letter understands why this would be helpful.
Many people succeed with this method because creditors don’t want to risk losing your account because of a single disagreement.
2. Offer to Sign Up for Automatic Payments
In some instances, a creditor may agree to update or delete a late payment from your credit reports if you agree to sign up for automatic payments.
This plan works well if you’ve had trouble making on-time payments in the past but aren’t significantly delinquent on your account. You’ll have better luck negotiating this deal if you can show that you’re financially able to make your payments.
It also helps if you’ve overcome whatever financial hardship that held you back from making your monthly payment in the past. Like requesting a goodwill adjustment, this is also ideal for longer-term customers.
3. Dispute the Late Payment
If the first two options aren’t successfully getting your late payment removed, it’s time to file a dispute directly with the credit bureau. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows you to challenge any inaccurate information regarding the late payment on your credit report. Creditors must verify the information and remove inaccurate information from your credit report within 30 days.
To begin the dispute process, you will first need to request your credit reports. The FCRA allows you the right to at least one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus.
Check your credit reports to ensure that the date, payment amount, and other details are correct. If anything seems off, send a credit dispute letter by certified mail with a return receipt request to each of the three credit bureaus reporting the late payment.
You should get a response from the credit bureau about your dispute within 30 business days, which is required by law. This is a viable option if you have the time and inclination to research and execute an effective dispute.
4. Work with a Professional Credit Repair Company
If you’re not confident in disputing a late payment on your own, consider working with a reputable credit repair company. They have knowledgeable legal professionals on staff and can help with other negative information on your credit reports. Call for a free consultation to understand the costs and services provided.
Additional Tips for Improving Your Credit Scores
While removing late payments from your credit reports is crucial, it’s also essential to focus on other ways to improve your credit scores. Here are some additional tips:
- Pay all bills on time: Establishing a consistent payment history will show potential lenders that you are responsible and creditworthy. Consider setting up automatic payments and at least make the minimum payment by your due date.
- Keep credit card balances low: Maintain a low credit utilization ratio by keeping your balances below 30% of your credit limit. This demonstrates responsible credit usage and can help you maintain a good credit score.
- Monitor your credit reports: Regularly review your credit reports for errors or inaccuracies. Immediately report any discrepancies to the consumer reporting agencies to ensure your credit score accurately reflects your financial behavior.
- Diversify your credit mix: Having a diverse mix of credit types, such as installment loans and revolving credit, can positively impact your credit score. Lenders like to see that you can manage different types of credit responsibly.
- Limit hard inquiries: Each time you apply for new credit, a hard inquiry is recorded on your credit reports, which can temporarily lower your credit score. Limit the number of hard inquiries by only applying for credit when necessary.
Need help repairing your credit?
Credit Saint has a proven track record of effectively removing incorrect entries for countless clients. They can help you challenge and potentially remove all kinds of negative items from your credit reports, including bankruptcies, foreclosures, repossessions, charge offs, collections, late payments, and more.
If you’re struggling with bad credit and want to learn more, consider a free credit consultation with Credit Saint.
They have helped many people in your situation. Request a free credit consultation on their website to see how they can help you.
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Removing late payments from your credit report is an important step toward improving your overall credit health. By employing strategies such as goodwill adjustments, disputes, or partnering with a professional credit repair company, you can effectively remove late payments from your credit report.
In addition to addressing late payments, focus on other aspects of your credit, such as making on-time payments, maintaining low balances on credit accounts, and diversifying your credit mix. By taking these steps, you can build strong credit scores that will open doors to better financial opportunities.
Remember, you don’t have to face credit challenges alone. Reputable credit repair companies can provide expert guidance and assistance in removing negative items from your credit report and improving your credit score.