How to remove late payments from your credit report

08/11/2021
People in the process of getting a late payment removed from a credit report.

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Late payments don’t have to be on your credit report forever

You can get rid of late payment records on your credit report.

Late payments on your credit report are bad for your credit health. They indicate low creditworthiness and financial integrity. As long as they appear on your credit report, they’ll make your credit score drop and distort your chances of getting credit products, such as credit cards and different kinds of loans.

Thankfully, late payments can be removed from your credit report, and this will stop its ravaging effect in its tracks.

Keep reading for the various ways to remove late payments from credit reports

1. Dispute credit reporting errors

Sometimes, you could make a payment on time, only for it to show up on your report as a late payment. If this is the case, it’s an example of a credit reporting error. For such a late payment to be deleted from your report, you need to dispute the inaccuracy.

You can dispute the error with both the credit bureau that provided the report containing the inaccuracy and the creditor who provided the information. Disputing such errors is relatively easy as it can be done online directly using sample dispute letters provided by the Federal Trade Commission.

If your dispute is valid and the late payment entry is found to be an error, then it would be removed from your credit report.

2. Dispute outdated, late payment entries

Late payments typically have a lifespan of seven years on your credit report. When you obtain your credit report, go through it to ensure an outdated late payment entry is not present. If you spot any, dispute it; the law is on your side because it’s a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  

3. Request a removal on the grounds of goodwill

Sometimes, you could have actually made a late payment. It happens.

Where this is the case, you can write a goodwill letter to your creditor politely requesting that they delete the derogatory information from your report. In this instance, you’re asking the creditor to do you a favor, and you’re not promising anything in return.

Keep in mind you have to be respectful and nice; the creditor is under no obligation to grant your request. However, if you have a record of making timely payments, you stand a higher chance of your request being granted.

Writing a goodwill letter best helps when you have a solid excuse for the late payment. Examples of valid excuses are:

  • A drop in finances temporarily affected your ability to pay
  • You moved to a new location and the bill didn’t get to your new location
  • You thought you enabled automatic payments but you didn’t  

4. Negotiate with your creditor

When you make a late payment, all hope is not lost. Instead of waiting for the derogatory remark to exhaust its time on your credit report, you can bargain with the creditor. You can negotiate with your creditor to remove the late payment from your credit report while you’ll pay a significant amount of the debt you owe in return.

The creditor is under no obligation to accept your proposal, but it might be a more attractive choice than having the debt go unpaid. If they agree, be sure you get the terms of the agreement in writing to ensure they uphold their end of the bargain.

When you make the payment, the creditor will proceed to delete the late payment from your credit report.

While we strongly recommend you pay your bills on time, late payments are not the end of the world. Put these tips to work when a late payment shows up on your credit report and save your credit from further damage. 


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