5 Quick Tips on Removing Late Payment Marks
Late payments…what should you do about them? According to many credit experts, paying your bills on time is considered, by far, to be the main tenet of a high credit score. Alas, in the wake the “Mortgage Meltdown of 2007” and the ensuing “Financial Crisis of 2008-2010,” many financially responsible Americans found themselves, for the first time, having to deal with a late payment mark—a minor mistake when you consider the millions who lost their homes to a foreclosure. However, these minor mistakes can indeed manifest themselves in a major way, especially in regards to its ability to drastically reduce your credit scores. Perhaps you noticed your FICO scores take a dive for the worst because of a 30, 60, or even 90 day late mark. If a late payment(s) is indeed the cause of your recent debacle, don’t worry, there are a few options available:
Tip#1: Performing a Credit Report Analysis
If you think you have registered a late payment mark, the first thing you want to do is pull all three credit reports and do what’s called a credit report analysis, reviewing your credit report for what type of late mark it is. Is it simply a 30 day late—or is it a bit more serious? Minor credit blemishes come in the form of 30 day increments, but won’t officially ding your credit until after day 45. The key thing to remember is that not all credit bureaus will report the mistake late; so, this could work into your favor. Again, this is why it's some important to Pull All Three Credit Reports.
Tip#2: Disputing a Late Payment Mark
As indicated above, a late payment mark is considered by many to be a minor mistake, but when you factor in a FICO score’s significance, in regards to low interest loans, low insurance premiums and an overall higher quality of life, this minor ordeal could end up being a virtual nightmare for some households. In fact, while appearing harmless on the surface, late payment marks can remain on your credit report for up to seven years. When disputing late payments the main thing to remember is the quicker you dispute the late payment, the better chances of a delete. For example, opting to dispute a late payment online “as never late” should be your first line of attack. At this particular juncture, you have a 50/50 chance of getting the blemish removed.
Tip#3: Contacting the Credit Card Company
Sadly, the only other option you have, if you discover that disputing didn’t work, is to contact the credit card company that’s reporting the late mark. The main thing you’ll certainly want to do, prior to speaking with your credit card company, is to make an attempt at winning back their trust by bring your balance up to date—thus as a measure of good faith, perhaps you should even pay the balance in full for a couple of months to prove your sincerity.
Tip#4: Using a Goodwill Letter
What’s a goodwill letter? Just as the name implies, a goodwill letter is a letter of goodwill that’s written to a manager of a credit card company apologizing for your credit mishap. Unfortunately, not all the time a manager will be too receptive to a goodwill letter, but if your letter is written sincerely and professionally, chances are he or she will, at least, review your case, and perhaps even do away with the credit blemish all together, making your day in the process....
Tip#5: Using Time to do Away With the Mark...
If all else fail---namely, if you find that none of your initial tactics (e.g. contacting your credit card company, using a goodwill letter, etc.) are working, then, perhaps, now's the time you should consider going to plan b. What's plan b? Plan b is simply a little thing called time. The main thing you have to remember about a late payment, (from FICO's point of reference, especially) is that it typically doesn't mean financial irresponsibility. Thus, it goes without saying that, FICO won't punish you for a lifetime. Yes, the late payment will stay on your report for up to seven years, but the negative effects of it won't.