Life happened and you couldn’t make your credit card payments on time. Or maybe you got behind on your car note, student loans, or mortgage. Either way, the late payments are on your credit report and they’re dragging your score down.
Even if you’ve gotten back on track, it will still take some time for your score to revert back to what it was. The good news is it’s possible to have late payments from your credit report if you take the proper actions.
Read on to learn more.
How soon are late payments reported to the credit bureaus?
If you miss the due date on a credit card or loan by a few days, it’s not the end of the world. But once the account becomes delinquent by 30 days, a late payment fee isn’t the only thing you have to worry about.
The lender or creditor may choose to report it to the credit bureaus. And they will continue to do so at the 60, 90, and 120-day mark until the account is ultimately charged-off as a bad debt.
However, some lenders may be lenient with their reporting and wait until the account is 60 or 90 days delinquent update the status with the credit bureaus. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as you’ll have more time to bring the account current before damage is done to your credit score. However, the impact of a 60 or 90-day late payment could be more detrimental.
How does a late payment impact your credit score?
Your FICO score is comprised of the following components:
- Payment History: 35 percent of your FICO score
- Amounts Owed: 30 percent of your FICO score
- Length of Credit History: 15 percent of your FICO score
- Credit Mix (i.e. revolving and installment loans): 10 percent of your FICO score
- New Credit (i.e. applications for credit): 10 percent of your FICO score
Since payment history has the greatest impact, all it takes is one late payment to tank your credit score. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a minimum credit card payment of $25 or auto loan payment of $250.
According to Equifax, one late payment can reduce your score by up to 110 points. And the higher your score was before the late payment was reported, the greater the impact.
Furthermore, if the account continues to remain in a delinquent status, the impact to your score will be even greater. In fact, a late payment of 60 or 90 days can be as damaging to your score as a collection account or charge-off.
How long does a late payment stay on your credit report?
Late payments remain on your credit report for seven years. But the impact will start to dwindle over time. The good news is you don’t have to sit around with your fingers crossed desperately waiting for the day for your score to rise. There are ways you can have late payments removed before the seven-year mark.
What’s the easiest way to have a late payment removed from your credit report?
It’s possible to have a late payment removed from your credit report, and there are several ways to do so. However, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach when doing so. Instead, you have to consider the following:
- Was the late payment reported in error?
- Was it a one-time occurrence resulting from an oversight or technical issue?
- Are there several late payments across the board that you want to have removed?
Your answer to these responses will determine the best course of action to increase your odds of having the late payments) removed.
File a formal dispute
Creditors and lenders deal with millions of accounts on a daily basis, so errors are bound to happen. If you’ve never made a late payment but the creditor reported otherwise, you’ll need to file a formal dispute with the credit bureaus to have it removed.
This will force the creditor to conduct research and ultimately discover that your payment was on time. And they will update your records to reflect the accurate payment history.
You can also try disputing the late payment, even if you know it’s being accurately reported, to see if the creditor will bother responding. There’s always a chance they won’t bother to respond within the 30-day window mandated by law and the negative entry will be removed. While this is a longshot, it could actually work in your favor if the other methods listed below don’t quite pan out for you after several attempts.
Request a goodwill adjustment
Did the account fall behind due to sheer oversight? Or maybe you thought you made the payment but discovered it was never processed once the account popped up as delinquent on your credit report a month or so later? On the other hand, you could have been in the midst of a rough financial patch that made remitting a timely payment practically impossible?
Regardless of your reasoning for being late, you have a good chance of having the item removed if it was a one-time occurrence. Simply reach out to the creditor, plead your case, and request a goodwill adjustment. This can be done on the phone or in writing, but the latter is preferred so you’ll have a paper trail.
When pleading your case, be as specific as possible. Explain that this is out of the ordinary and highlight the fact that you’ve been a responsible customer for quite some time. Also, be prepared to move up the ladder if your request is rejected.
You can also strengthen the odds of having your request approved by asking to enroll in auto-pay. Doing so not only ensures that history won’t repeat itself on your end, but provides the creditor reassurance that it was an error on unusual occurrence on your part and that you’re committed to making timely payments going forward.
Hire a reputable credit repair company?
Would it be easier to let a professional do the work for you? If so, consider hiring a reputable credit repair company to get the results you’re looking for. (insert link to “Best Credit Repair Companies of 2018”)
There are many options out there that offer free consultations, low monthly rates, and month-to-month contracts with no cancellation penalties. While you may be hesitant to invest in credit repair services, the investment is substantially lower than what you could find yourself paying in interest due to your subpar credit score.
The bottom line
Whether you decide to take matters into your own hands or hire a credit repair company, your credit score will benefit greatly from having late payments removed from your credit report. Plus, you’ll have a peace of mind knowing that those mistakes or financial hardships are behind you as you continue working towards attaining a stellar credit rating.