Payment history accounts for 35% of your score. Even one missed payment can hammer your credit score and remain on your record for up to 7 years! If this has happened to you, you’re probably asking yourself how to remove late payments from your credit report.
There’s no guaranteed way to do it. Credit bureaus and creditors have no obligation to remove an accurate, verified record, and anyone who tells you otherwise is not being honest.
There is still hope. The three steps we give you here are not 100% successful, but they can work, and they are certainly worth a try!
How to Remove Late Payments From Your Credit Report
Sometimes life throws you a curveball and knocks you off your feet. Whether you lost your job, came down with a severe illness, or had another unexpected event – you might have missed a payment (or three).
If you really did miss your payment, disputing the negative mark with the credit bureau won’t do you any good. They don’t have to remove it, and they won’t.
You can ask your creditors to cut you some slack by explaining your situation. It’s called a “goodwill letter,” and it’s how to get a creditor to remove a missed payment from your record, because pointing out why your payment was late might convince the company to delete your mishap altogether.
You can write the letter yourself, but you’ll need a strong message to convince them to drop the missed payments. With enough persistence, you might wear down their resolve and get your credit back on track.
If you’re not sure what to say, our DIY credit repair kit has a template for a goodwill letter. You’ll need to modify it to cover your personal circumstances, but it will get you started. Keep it short and honest!
If you don’t pay your lender for 6 months, they normally “charge off” your debt. Click here to learn how to remove charge-offs from your credit report.
Plead With Creditors to Delete Late Payments
If you have accumulated a pile of missed payments, you might think you’ve waited too long to get a creditor to remove your missed payments. Believe it or not, your creditors can work with you, no matter how bad the situation is.
Remember that your creditors don’t want to charge off your debts and send them to collections. They get almost nothing if that happens. A hardship letter may get you started with a solution.
Your letter must describe your circumstances in plain language without making excuses. And a good hardship letter always asks for a specific resolution, such as:
- Waiving late fees
- Suspending past-due payment amounts
- Lowering your interest rate
- Modifying your monthly payment amount
- Setting up a payment plan
- Discussing settlement options
Another technique – especially if you’re dealing with a collection company – is to try and settle with a pay for delete letter. Yes, it’s another letter. And no, your creditor doesn’t have any obligation to approve your request. But you’ll never know if they’re willing to work with you unless you ask.
Balance Them Out
This is not a strategy for completely removing late payments. If the record is legitimate and the creditor isn’t willing to help, you won’t be able to do that. Despite what some self-styled (and usually self-interested) credit gurus may tell you, there’s no magic trick that makes negative records disappear.
You may not be able to remove those late payments, but you can remove their influence, which is just as good. There are three parts to this process.
- Time. Negative records don’t vanish from your report for seven years. That’s a long time to wait. Credit scoring models prioritize more recent information, though, and as time passes, those old records will have less and less impact on your credit score.
- Positive records. Adding new positive records to your credit file will help you outbalance those old negative records. Check this advice on rebuilding damaged credit.
- Avoid more damage. The first rule of rebuilding credit is “do no harm”. If you have active credit accounts, make payments on time and keep your credit utilization low!
You don’t need to wait seven years for a better credit score. Even if you have done serious damage to your credit, you can rebuild it with effort and knowledge.
You Don’t Have to Do It Alone
Dealing with credit bureaus and creditors can be intimidating. It seems like there are dozens of different terms and letters and account types to master, and the load can be overwhelming. There are options.
If you’d like to fix your credit yourself but you’re not sure where to start, try our DIY Credit Repair Kit. You’ll do the work, but the kit will walk you through the process, provide letter templates, and explain what you’re doing and why.
If your credit report is deeply damaged and you have a multitude of problematic accounts, you may want to engage a professional credit repair company to help you clean up the mess. We encourage you to check out Credit Saint. With industry-best reviews, great rates, and a free consultation, they’re our #1 recommended credit repair company.