Late payments give your credit report a black eye. Unlike a black eye, late payments stick on your credit report for up to seven years. What can you do to remove a late payment from your credit report? Below we have four possible solutions.
Let time heal your credit report
A late payment will stay on your credit report for seven years. After seven years, the three major credit bureaus will remove the late payment for you. But you don’t need to worry about your credit score for the full seven years.
A study by VantageScore solutions found that a single late payment can ding your credit score by 70-120 points. But within a year and a half, the effect of the late payment is all but gone.
Rather than fighting to remove a late payment, fix your credit by keeping your credit utilization low, and paying your account on time. This is an easy method to choose if you don’t need a loan soon.
Negotiate by signing up for automatic payments
Your creditors love automatic access to your bank account. If you have a limited number of late payments, you may get your creditor to remove the information from your credit reports if you sign up for automatic payments.
Not every creditor will negotiate with you, but this can be an excellent win-win. Not only will you remove bad credit, but you’ll avoid late payments in the future. Meanwhile, your creditor will get timely payments from you.
Just remember, get your agreement in writing before you sign up.
Send a Goodwill Letter
If you’ve experienced a personal hardship that led you to a late payment, a goodwill letter may convince your creditors to restore your credit.
The goal of a goodwill letter is to get your creditor to empathize with you. This means that you should keep your letter short and simple. Convey an appreciative tone, note your good record, and explain the circumstances surrounding your late payment.
At both the open and close of your letter, request for them to remove the late payment entry from your credit report.
A goodwill letter may not lead to credit restoration, but it is worth a try. Especially if you have an otherwise clean record with this particular creditor.
Wait to send a goodwill letter until you’ve had at least 3-4 months of on time payments after the late payment.
Dispute a late payment with the credit bureaus
As a consumer, you have a right to an accurate credit report. You may see a record of a late payment that is actually the result of a bank’s sloppy record keeping. You can dispute inaccurate entries.
If you dispute a late payment, your bank or creditor must verify the accuracy and completeness of the original late payment within 30 days, otherwise the entry will be removed.
To effectively dispute an error, take note of anything that seems inaccurate or incomplete. Then send a dispute letter using the Federal Trade Commission’s sample dispute letter. Send the letter to all three major credit bureaus.
Equifax, Transunion and Experian (the three major credit bureaus) allow you to file disputes online. You can also contact them via the mail which makes it easier to save your correspondence.
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
Allow a professional to dispute for you
Sometimes, it is well worth the money to pay for a professional to remove a late payment for you. A professional legal team at Lexington Law can work with you to create a credit repair program. They work within the law to remove any negative information that they legally can. They will also resolve credit issues more quickly than you can.