This is a commonly asked financial question when it comes to credit histories. This has become especially true in recent times, as an increasing number of consumers are struggling with their finances and credit reports. This article looks at the process of removing late payments.
First of all we will quickly examine what exactly late payments are, and how they can be damaging to your credit report. Late payments are payments that you have made on an existing credit product such as a credit card or personal loan after the due date.
The actual amount of time by which the payment is late is irrelevant whether you are one day or 30 days overdue, the payment is still classed as late. Late payments can be identified on your account statements, as you will often be charged a late payment fee.
The first step to remove late payments is to get a copy of your most recent credit report. This can be done by contacting one of the three major credit bureaus (in the US these are Experian, Equifax and Trans Union), who are legally obliged to provide you with a free copy once a year.
Though the actual layouts of the credit reports can vary slightly, all should have a system whereby you can identify whether payments made on your credit accounts have been classed as late. The report will also inform you of the number of late payments you have made over a given period of years.
Although most people are aware that late payments are not good news, the majority of consumers do not realise that payment punctuality can count for over 30% of your total credit score. This means that future credit applications can be severely affected by the presence of an overdue payment on your credit report.
So we come to how to remove late payments. The first step is simply to contact the credit provider and ask them nicely. Although this sounds unlikely, many credit providers will actually remove the black mark if it is a one-off. If you have been making late payments on a regular basis, however, they may be less willing to do this for you.
If you believe that certain payments have been recorded as late on your credit report inaccurately, you can have them removed by contacting the relevant credit bureau. Enclose proof where possible, and keep written copies of all contact to and from the bureau. Unless they can provide you with evidence that the payment was overdue, they are legally obliged to remove it.
As with most credit problems, prevention is easier than the cure. If you are not going to be able to make a payment on or before an agreed date, contact the credit provider and explain your predicament. Many companies will extend your due date or allow to make a double payment next month – so do not hide your head in the sand.
If the black mark is legitimate it can remain on your credit report for up to seven years, so rather than having to remove late payments, keep in touch with your credit providers and keep your credit report in check.