About 70% of all Americans struggle with their finances. If you’re one of these people, it’s not surprising that you had to push off one of your many payments to a later date.
But what do you do now? Can you get it off your credit score?
We’ve put together this guide to show you how to remove a late payment from your report, so make sure you keep reading to learn some helpful tips.
Can You Remove a Late Payment From Your Credit Report?
That depends on the circumstances.
The first question you need to ask yourself is this: “Did I actually pay late?”
If you paid on time but the payment is marked as late, it is a lender or credit bureau mistake. You should be able to dispute the claim and remove the late payment quickly and easily.
If you actually paid late, there’s a good chance that late payment will stay on your credit score. While you might be able to remove it, the process is often difficult and time-consuming, and there’s no guarantee you can get rid of it at all.
Creditors must report accurate information. Because of this, they can’t remove a late payment from your credit score.
What About Pay-For-Delete Services?
You might find pay-for-delete services that will supposedly remove a late payment from your credit score if you pay them a certain amount of money.
But this probably isn’t a good idea.
At worst, this is a scam. The company might take your money without doing anything to the late payment at all. Disputing the claim on your own can save you all that money, so it’s better to stick with the traditional methods.
At best, the debt collectors will remove the paid collections amount from the credit reports. However, the late payment will still show up on your original account. Paying to remove the late payment won’t do you much good anyway.
How to Get Late Payments Removed as Fast as Possible
If you do think a late payment has shown up on your credit score by mistake, there are a few steps you should follow that will help resolve the issue as fast as possible. However, these things take time, so remember to stay calm, be polite and honest, and have patience.
Go Through Your Credit History to Find Late Payments
Spend some time going through your credit history to find the late payments. Once you spot them, make sure you analyze them to figure out if they are a mistake.
Even if you don’t think you have a late payment, it’s a good idea to go through your history at least once a year. This will help you catch any issues you might not have been aware of, which will keep your credit score up.
You should also keep an eye out for any late payments that are over seven years old. At this point, they should be removed from your report. If they are still there, make sure you get in touch with the credit bureau to file a claim.
Dispute the Mistake
After you find a late payment, you should dispute the claim with the credit bureau or your credit card company (or both) right away. Let them know it was a mistake, and give them the proof to show you are being honest.
The bureau or credit card company will then investigate the claim, and they have 30 days to do so before getting back to you. When they’re done, they’ll send you their ruling and remove the late payment.
How to Remove Correct Late Payments
Again, there’s a high chance you won’t be able to remove late payments that you actually made after the due date from your credit score. However, you can try the following strategies.
Write a Goodwill Letter
Try writing the creditors a letter explaining why you made the payment late.
In this letter, you can talk about your credit history, especially if you have a good credit score, and show how you don’t normally make late payments. Then let them know the only reason the payment was late was due to circumstances outside your control, such as a natural disaster, becoming unemployed, or losing your health.
You should then come up with a detailed plan to show them why you won’t make repeating late payments in the future. This can include signing up for automatic payments or making a bigger payment that will pay off a large portion of your debt.
After this, you have to wait. If you don’t hear back from them within a few months, you can try contacting them again. If you still don’t hear back from them, they probably won’t change anything.
Negotiate With Your Lender
This is somewhat similar to a goodwill letter, but you’ll have to contact them directly. During your conversation, let them know why you’ll never make a late payment in the future (using one of the methods listed above). In some cases, you may be able to convince them to remove the late payment from your score.
However, this is rare. Odds are, the lender won’t do this for you.
Taking Control of Your Finances and Boosting Your Credit Score
Figuring out how to remove a late payment from your credit report can be a difficult process, but you don’t have to do it alone.
If you want some help improving your credit score, make sure you get in touch with our team at The Credit Agents. We’ll take a look at your financial situation and do everything we can to get you in the green as fast as possible!