Knowing you have a late payment on your credit report can be quite a shock, especially when you find out about it when you are trying to get approved for a car loan or mortgage.
(You might even find out about the late payment from a collections agency.)
In the past, I experienced the late payment problem back during the 2008 – 2010 financial crisis.
In my case, it was an error by the lender and I got it corrected right away!
Below, I’m going to list out some various strategies you can try for getting late payments removed.
NOTE: I’m not offering any type of financial advice here. My goal here is to provide you with a list of references so you can start doing your own research and see if you can get the issue with your late payment resolved on your own.
Before we start, I want you to research the following background information, for when you are dealing with any kind of bad mark on your credit report and accounts.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there are various statutes of limitations for how long legal action can be used to pursue a debt that is owed. This will help you understand your rights, if by chance you have other credit problems, in addition to a late payment.
Now, let’s find out more about how to deal with that late payment.
First, Grab a Copy of Your Credit Report, For Free
You can get a FREE copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com, you won’t get a credit score, but you will have a copy of all your credit accounts and their payment history and the status of being up to date or late on an account.
If you are interested in finding out about your credit score for free, I recommend checking out a site like CreditKarma.com, they’ll give you an estimate of what your actual credit score might be using their own algorithm scoring system.
Next, Review Your Credit Report Carefully For Errors
After you get your credit report, review it carefully for any errors that might show up for being the cause of the late payment.
If you do spot an error for being the reason why your payment was marked as late, you’ll need to prove that it was.
To prove it, just grab a statement from your checking account and show the date of payment deducted from your account, either by a check or bill payment. As long as that date is before the actual due date of your payment, you can prove it was an error and get it corrected by the lender or credit bureau reporting the late payment.
To save time and make things easy, try contacting your lender first to get them to fix the late payment error. If they do not help you, your next step is to go ahead and contact the credit bureaus and file a dispute.
If the late payment is showing up on more than one credit bureau, you’ll need to contact each one separately.
Lastly, What If The Payment Is Late Because You Were At Fault?
If the late payment was not an error and is your fault because of a financial hardship, or you just simply forgot to send it out, it’s perfectly an honest mistake.
Here are some things you can try, to get the late payment status removed from your credit report.
Write a Goodwill Letter To The Lender
If you Google “how to write a Goodwill Letter”, you’ll find lots of templates that will walk you through how to write a Goodwill Letter to your lender. The Goodwill letter will help show that you had good intentions of making the payment on time. People on various personal finance sites have reported that sometimes sending a Goodwill letter will work in having a late payment removed. A popular finance site you can check out is Personal Finance Subreddit.
Consider Setting Up Automatic Payments With The Lender
Another option for having a lender remove a late payment from your credit report would be to set up automatic payments for that account. By agreeing to automatic payments the lender knows the chances of getting a late payment in the future will be low, so they will be more flexible on removing the late payment. Each lender will have different requirements for automatic payments, so just ask them what’s involved. Remember there’s no guarantee they’ll remove the late payment, but they may be willing to work with you more if automatic payments are set up.
If You Can’t Get The Late Payment Removed, Consider Leaving a Note on Your Credit Report
If the late payment ends up staying on your credit report, you do have the option of adding a note to each one of your credit reports, from each bureau, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
In the note, you can explain what happened for having a late payment in the first place, and how it won’t happen again.
Should You Use a Credit Repair Company?
Most people I’ve talked to who have used a credit repair company have mixed results.
In fact, if you research any of the big credit repair companies out there and read their reviews, you’ll find a lot of good and bad reviews.
Therefore, I cannot recommend any particular company, but if you do your research or could get a referral to a reputable company, having professional help might be an option for you.
Warning: Keep in mind that most professional credit repair companies may not be able to service you as well, if you started contacting the lender or credit bureaus ahead of time regarding your late payment. So if you decide you want to hire a company, it’s best to not start the process of removing the late payment on your own, it might do more harm than good. Just let them deal with it!
Late payments are very common for people and it’s just a part of life we all may have to confront at some point.
I recommend you do as much of your own research as possible so you can get it resolved and avoid the runaround between your lender and the credit bureaus.
Use Reddit, Google, Quora, and any other online finance forums to help you get questions and answers from others who have tried various tactics and had success.
And remember, use caution if you decide to hire a credit repair company, they have so many mixed results, so it may or may not work out for you.