Late payments can be reported on your credit report for all types of credit accounts. The most popular being Credit Cards, Personal & Auto Loans, Mortgages, and Student Loans. Normally, you find out about late payments because you were turned down on a loan application or you get a nasty letter from a lender or collections agency. Sometimes, the lender and collections agency will call you over and over again too! (Talk about harassment!)
Having one, two, or even three late payments in the last 24 months will kill your credit score.
(Late payments suck because they will stay on your credit report for up to 7 years!)
Clear your head and take a logical step to fix the situation by reviewing the following options for removing late payments from your credit report.
QUICK NOTE: WHEN DEALING WITH CREDIT REPAIR ISSUES IT’S ALWAYS BEST TO CONTACT A PROFESSIONAL FIRST. TYPICALLY, THEY HAVE A 50% BETTER SUCCESS RATE WITH REMOVING LATE PAYMENTS THEN YOU CAN DO ON YOUR OWN.
REMEMBER! It’s advised to never talk to the creditors via the phone. Always communicate with them via written text so things can be carefully documented.
Prepare Yourself And Get Organized
The below two items will help you build up a defense for getting the late payments removed!
- Get a copy of your credit report (with credit score) from each bureau, you’ll need to carefully review your report for any errors or bad marks. You can get a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com and you can get a free credit score check from CreditKarma.com
- You will also need to look for any financial records you have that can prove the payment was actually made on time. For example, look for cleared checks and bill payments on your checking account statement. If you cannot provide the proof it was paid on time, it’s OK, you still have a good chance at getting the late payment removed.
Send Out A Written Correspondence
Option 1:) Write a Good Will Letter Directly to the Lender (or the company servicing the account.)
It’s a simple concept that will work providing you don’t have multiple late payments with the lender. Many times a lender will do a Good Will adjustment on your account if you’ve overall had a positive relationship with them. Especially if this is the first time you’ve had a late payment.
Write a letter explaining the situation that led up to the late payment, then ask them to forgive it and remove it from your account. I’ll have a separate blog post for you on creating a goodwill letter, I’ll post a link here soon.
Option 2:) Disputing With The Credit Bureaus Directly That It’s An Error
Disputing with the credit bureaus can be a bit tricky. They’re so busy sorting our real errors from technical ones, that there’s a good chance they’ll just fix your credit report based on lack of evidence from the lender.
If you fail with the first attempt, you can keep disputing the late payments. If the bank does not respond to the bureau within thirty days and you are persistent enough, the late payment will fall off your credit report because the bureaus will conclude that you must be credible, and the lender is not. (This is especially true if you have clear evidence that the payment was made on time and the lender is not working with you to get it corrected!)
Contact A Credit Repair Professional
Finding a professional can be quite an effort. Especially when sorting through all the Google Paid ads for Credit Repair Services, etc. When working with a business providing Credit Repair Service, you should never have to pay upfront for any services. After an evaluation has been done and results are made to actually clean up your credit, then it’s OK to pay.
Upon doing some research on the web, I found a Credit Repair company that does not expect you to pay upfront. It’s called LateRemoval.com
Their website says they specialize in the following:
- Calling the legal departments of the banks on your behalf.
- Having a professional attorney do all of the back and forth phone calls, and paperwork.
- Can customize a package working with the following credit accounts:
- Mortgage or Home Equity Lines of Credit
- Credit Cards
- Student Loans
- Personal Loans
- Car (auto) Loans
As A Last Resort…
The Fair Credit Reporting Act makes it possible for you to explain your personal financial debacle or issues. You can add up to a 100-word note on all of your credit reports. It’s your legal right!
However, you have to contact each of the three credit bureaus separately.
Use your judgment to make sure the note does not do more harm than good. The only person who will ever read this would be an underwriter for a loan approval. So if them reading it would help the approval of a loan, it’s worth a try.
You Can Also Add Automatic Payments To Your Account
By agreeing with the lender to add automatic payments, you’ll have a chance to remove the late payments as well. I’ve spoken with many people and readers via e-mail that this tactic worked for them.
What Matters Most
We all have good intentions and always try to pay our credit accounts on time. But, sometimes life gets in the way and financial issues can creep up causing a payment to a lender/creditor to be late. Or the lender themselves will make an error reporting a payment that is made on time!
Taking a proactive approach and handling the issue as soon as you discover it is the most fiscally responsible thing you can do.