Late payments can be a big deal, they count significantly toward your credit score calculation, and can stay on your credit report for seven years unless you do something. However, in my experience, it’s really not that difficult to get late payments removed. Here are three methods you can use to remove late payments from your credit report.
How long do late payments stay on your credit report?
Like I mentioned before, late payments can stay on your credit report for seven years. This will not only have an affect on your ability to get loans, but will also affect the interest rates you do get. Therefore, I recommend you take steps to get missed payments off your credit report.
I strongly recommend monitoring your credit report and credit score to see right when it’s removed so you can keep track of your progress. TransUnion has the best credit report monitoring in my opinion, plus they include your credit score for free.
1. Request a Goodwill Adjustment from the original creditor to remove late payments
The idea is simple and it works incredible well. Many times creditors are happy to grant “goodwill adjustments” if your previous payment history is relatively good and you have established a good relationship with the creditor. This is probably the easiest and surest way to get a late payment removed from your credit report. The process involves writing the creditor a letter explaining your situation (why you were late) and asking that they “forgive” the late payment and adjust your credit report accordingly. The easiest way to write a goodwill / forgiveness letter is to use the sample letter I created as a template. This method might not work if you have multiple late payments.
2. Negotiate removal by offering to sign up for automatic payments.
I have never actually tried this method myself, but from what I understand creditors frequently offer to remove late payment entries if you, in exchange, agree to sign up for automatic payments. I really like this idea because it works out well for both parties: the creditor can ensure future payments will be made on time, and you don’t have to ever worry about missing another payment. I would love to hear from those of you who have succeeded with this method!
Update: Several readers have verified that this method did work for them, so try this next if a goodwill letter doesn’t work.
3. Dispute the late payment as inaccurate
While I certainly do not advocate lying (that is, claiming an entry is inaccurate when you know it’s not), if you find ANY inaccuracies on the late payment entry (dates, amounts, etc), you can dispute the late payment as inaccurate.
Sometimes creditors have a difficult time verifying the exact details of your account history. Therefore, if you dispute the late payment and they are unable (or simply don’t bother) to verify it, the negative entry will be removed. This is also a great technique on how to remove collections from credit report.
4. Have a professional remove the late payment
Lastly, if you’re the type of person who would rather have a professional handle it and just be done with the whole thing.