How to Remove Late Payments from a Credit Report

Updated on March 12, 2024

At a Glance

  • Late payments negatively impact credit reports and scores, signaling risk to potential lenders.
  • Payment history is a crucial factor in determining creditworthiness.
  • To get a late payment removed, consider writing goodwill or pay-for-delete letters, although removal is not guaranteed.
  • Filing a dispute for incorrect information with the creditor or credit bureaus is another option.

Having late payments on your credit report could seriously affect your credit score and you may even end up being unable to obtain certain benefits because of it. Not everyone is able to pay debts on time, but while this is not out of the ordinary, it is harmful.

So, how to remove late payments from a credit report? Read on to discover more information on the matter.

Why Late Payments Are Bad for Your Credit Report

Although everyone would want to be able to pay their bills on time, it’s not always possible. People may encounter different issues. They either don’t have the time to do so, or they don’t have enough money to pay them, so they end up being late. Unfortunately, this will show up on their credit report and affect it.

When it comes to determining your credit score, your payment history is the main factor that allows it to be calculated. This is why it’s always recommended to pay for everything on time. Depending on factors like your credit history and score, how bad the late payment was, and how long ago it happened, it can seriously harm your credit score.

Your credit score shows your reliability with credit. When you want to borrow money, your score will be calculated by the potential lender to see if you meet the criteria to get a loan. Your credit history comes into play here. There are companies that don’t ignore late payments when calculating credit scores, because late payments could be a good sign that the borrower would be too risky. As a result, you may not be able to obtain financing from these companies.

How to Get a Late Payment Removed

Did you get a late payment featured on your credit report? If it’s there and you’re worried that you will not be able to get a loan because of that, you could try having it removed. Here are several methods to make that possible:

Call your creditor and ask them to remove a late payment one-time

If you have had a good relationship with the creditor and were late by mistake, you can call the creditor to make a one-time update to your credit report. If the credit reporting was actually incorrect, the creditor is required to fix the report within 30 days per Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Most creditors don’t want to upset good customers and are open to making a one time change. This is the easiest way to get late payments removed from your credit report.

Write a Good-Will Adjustment Letter

This method is very easy, and that’s because all you have to do is write a letter. You could make this letter for your creditor. It will allow you to explain your reasons for not paying on time. This letter, known as the good-will letter, may actually get the late payment removed if you had a very good reason for not making the payment on time.

However, all creditors must be accurate when reporting information to the credit bureaus. Because of that, you shouldn’t rely on the fact that they will remove the late payment because it’s not a guarantee.

Also, if you want to inform your issuer before the information even makes it on your credit report, you should consider calling them. It’s a much faster method, unlike the letter. On top of that, it lets you deal with the problem and tell your issuer about the reason for the late payment before it actually makes it on your credit report. If this is the first time you’ve missed a payment, then your chances of success may be a bit higher.

Write a Pay-for-Delete Letter

In some cases, you can use the “pay-for-delete” method, which is basically a service offered by debt collectors where the creditor will eliminate a collections account removed from your report if you pay the account off.

Now, even though it seems like an effective way to get the late payment removed from your credit report, you should not consider it. This is because all creditors have to report information as accurately as possible, so they will want it to stay the same even if you pay the account. The only situation that would allow for the information to be removed for sure is when the information is wrong.

Also, pay-for-delete is a method that works to remove the paid collections account from your credit reports. So, this doesn’t mean it will remove the late payments or original account.

File a Dispute

Issuers can make mistakes sometimes. They’re only human, after all, and errors can happen at any time. So, if you think that there was an error made on your credit report and the information is wrong, you could always file a dispute. Not only that, but you also have the chance to file the dispute with the creditor that sent the information, to begin with – this is usually the card issuer or lender.

When you file a dispute for incorrect late payment, the creditor will have to investigate the situation within 30 days. If the creditor considers that the late payment information is correct, then it will not be removed or updated. However, if the creditor agrees that the information reported is incorrect, they will have to let the credit bureau know that the details should be updated or removed. Moreover, all the credit bureaus that received the information should be notified.

Similarly, if you’re disputing it with credit bureaus, you should also file the dispute with every single bureau that got the credit report with the wrong information. It takes 30 days for credit bureaus to investigate this situation in general.

When Are Late Payments Reported?

In general, late payments are reported 30 days after the due date of the payment passed. This allows the person to make the payment within those 30 days. Creditors and lenders may not report it to the credit bureau as a late payment in that case. But when 30 days have passed, your late payment will be reported. Some creditors and lenders are a bit different and they only report late payments if 60 days have passed.

How Do Late Payments Impact Credit Score?

When you miss a payment, your credit score is affected. When you are late with a payment by 30 days or longer, as much as 100 points can be taken from your credit score. Your payment history is an essential part of the credit score, which is why it’s taken into account when calculating it. Therefore, one single late payment is enough to drag down your score.

How Long Will a Late Payment Stay on a Credit Report?

Once a late payment is recorded on your credit report, you should know that it will be there for six years. Fortunately, as time passes, the impact on your score will decrease, because lenders care more about your recent credit history instead of the old one.

Therefore, it’s always important to keep up with future payments even though you were unable to make one payment on time. Your score will also improve over time, so it will be easier to get approved for credit.

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Not being able to make a payment on time will not only show up on your credit report but can also drag down your credit score and hinder your chances of obtaining credit. Luckily, there are a few ways to get it removed, but it’s not guaranteed unless the information was wrong. Make sure you always pay on time to avoid issues like this.

Need assistance with your credit score repair? Credit Saint is here for you. If their credit pros can’t make a difference, you’ll get your money back within 90 days.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can Late Payments Be Removed from a Credit Report?

Yes, late payments can be removed from a credit report under certain circumstances, such as if the information is inaccurate, or as a goodwill adjustment by the creditor.

How Can I Remove a Late Payment from My Credit Report?

To remove a late payment, you can dispute inaccuracies with the credit bureaus, request a goodwill adjustment from the creditor, or negotiate a removal upon payment if the debt is still owed.

What is a Goodwill Adjustment?

A goodwill adjustment is when a creditor agrees to remove a late payment from your credit report as a gesture of goodwill, usually because you’ve been a good customer with a generally strong payment history.

How Do I Dispute Inaccuracies on My Credit Report?

To dispute inaccuracies, you need to contact the credit bureau that reports the error with evidence supporting your claim. This can be done online, by phone, or by mail.

Can Paying Off a Late Account Remove the Late Payment?

Paying off a late account does not automatically remove the late payment history. However, the account will be marked as paid, which can positively impact your credit score.

How Long Do Late Payments Stay on a Credit Report?

Late payments typically stay on a credit report for up to seven years from the date of the first missed payment.

Will Creditors Always Agree to a Goodwill Adjustment?

Creditors are not obligated to agree to a goodwill adjustment. Success often depends on your relationship with the creditor and your payment history.

What Impact Do Late Payments Have on My Credit Score?

Late payments can significantly impact your credit score, especially if they are recent. The impact decreases over time but remains on your report for seven years.

Can a Credit Repair Company Remove Late Payments?

Credit repair companies can help you dispute inaccuracies, but they cannot remove legitimate late payments. Be wary of companies that promise to remove accurate information from your credit report.

What Should I Do If My Removal Request is Denied?

If your request to remove a late payment is denied, focus on building positive credit history going forward. Consistent on-time payments and reducing debt can improve your credit score over time.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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