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How to get late payments removed from your credit report

Late payments on your credit report can have a negative impact on your credit score. The good news? There are ways to remove them. Here’s our quick primer on why late payments impact your credit report, an overview of how to get late payments removed as well as step-by-step instructions on disputing inaccurate late payments. Read on to learn more about how to improve your credit score and get back on track!

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Why late payments impact your credit report

When banks and credit issuers are reviewing whether or not to approve you for credit, they take a look at your payment history. Why? It’s their business. They want to make sure you’ve proven that you can repay your debts so they don’t lose money on you. 

While a single late payment won’t necessary mean you don’t get a loan or line, it can mean it will cost you a lot more to get it (i.e. higher interest rates and fees.) Your credit score highly impacts the cost of credit and your payment history accounts for 35% of what makes up your credit score

How to get late payments removed from your credit report

So, you understand that late payments on bills can have a lasting negative impact on your credit report. But what if the late payments already happened and you know that you paid late? Is there anything you can do? Yep. Basically, you can ask for forgiveness by contacting the creditor that reported the late payment to your credit report. 

When you contact them, explain the situation and ask if they are willing to remove the late payments from your report as a one-time courtesy. You’ll have better luck if the late payment was an isolated incident and you have a good history of making timely payments otherwise.

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Roost Tip! When asking for a favor, courtesy and strategy. Be specific in your ask and help them understand why removing a late payment is good for them.

If they’re not budging, try negotiating. For example, if you still owe the creditor some money, suggest paying off the outstanding balance in exchange for having them remove the late payment from your credit report. 

If neither of these approaches work, you can try disputing the late payments with one or more of the three major credit bureaus. (Read on for instructions on how.) But make sure you’ve truly got a case and have all the evidence you need to prove it. Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax will require detailed evidence that you or the creditor made an error when reporting this information; otherwise, the bureaus are unlikely to take action on your behalf.

How to dispute inaccurate late payments – step by step

According a Federal Trade Commission study, one in five people have an error on at least one of their credit reports. So, if you see a late payment that doesn’t look quick right, you might be right—and you should dispute it. Here’s how: 

Step 1: Gather Documentation

The first step is to gather all documentation you have related to the inaccurate late payment. You’ll want to pull together any correspondence with creditors, copies of bills or invoices, bank statements, payment history screenshots, etc. 

Step 2: Contact the Creditor

Once you’ve gathered all your documentation, contact the creditor and explain that you believe the late payment is inaccurate. Ask them to review their records and see if they agree that that there is an error and that it should be removed from your credit report.

Step 3: Submit a Dispute Letter 

If the creditor disagrees with you, or they fail to respond within 30 days, send a dispute letter directly to each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). Include all relevant information such as details, i.e. why you believe the late payment is inaccurate, what you’ve done so far to dispute it, and all your supporting documentation.

Step 4: Wait for Response 

After submitting your dispute letter, wait for a response from each of the three credit bureaus. They typically investigate your claim and either confirm or remove the disputed late payment from your report within 30 days.

Step 5: Follow Up

Follow up with each bureau after sending in your dispute letter—they may require additional information before making a decision. Keep track of when each bureau received your letter so that you know when it’s time to inquire about updates or progress regarding your dispute.

For more tips on how to get late payment and other errors off your credit report, check out our full article, “How to remove errors from your credit report.”

What to do if your late payment dispute is successful (or not)

If your dispute is successful, the credit reporting company will remove the erroneous items in your file and update your report. Woo hoo! If the creditor or the credit bureaus disagree with your inaccurate late payment claim, it’s best to explore some other options. 

Use a credit repair service

Consider hiring a credit repair service which specializes in negotiating with creditors and disputing errors on behalf of their clients. These services often charge upfront fees as well as monthly charges, so make sure you read all documents carefully before signing up for any service like this. Here’s a quick comparison of some credit repair services.

Get your on-time rent reported to the credit bureaus

If you can’t get a late payment removed, you can still strengthen you overall credit history by making sure the payments you do make on time count. Like rent. Some properties partner with vendors (like Roost!) to offer this service. You can also work with an on-time rent reporting service. Check out these 7 tips for reporting rent to increase your credit score.

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Removing late payments from your credit report FAQs

What is a late payment that might impact my credit report?

A late payment occurs when you miss the due date to pay a bill. This can include utility bills, mortgage or rent payments, car and student loan payments, a missed credit card payment (ouch! pricey!) or any other type of loan payment. Late payments may be reported to the three major credit bureaus and can negatively impact your credit score.

How do I know if a late payment is on my credit report? 

You can check your credit report for free once a year at each of the three major bureaus. Review your reports for inaccurate late payments, or any other type of errors, and make sure to get them fixed. 

What should I do if I find an inaccurate late payment on my credit report? 

If you find an inaccurate late payment reported on your credit report, dispute it. This means gathering all relevant documents and contacting the creditor directly with any questions or concerns about the accuracy of the information being reported. Next, submit a dispute letter to each of the three bureaus detailing why you believe that the information is incorrect and include supporting documentation as evidence.

Will disputing a late payment hurt my credit score? 

Disputing an inaccurate late payment will not impact your score negatively. However, if the credit bureaus determine that the information was accurate afterall, it could continue to have an adverse effect. 

Can I get help removing inaccuracies from my credit report? Yes! 

Yep. There are lots of paid services that can help you remove inaccuracies from your report and negotiate with creditors. Make sure you research these services carefully—they always come at a cost. 

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