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5 Quick Tips on Removing Late Payment Marks

Updated on March 15, 2015

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.


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    • j80caldwell profile image

      j80caldwell 2 years ago

      I agree, ID theft sucks, consumers need to be on top of their games when dealing with credit reports.

    • Matt Easterbrook5 profile image

      Matthew A Easterbrook 2 years ago from Oregon

      I commented from my cell phone above and it came out a little bit broken up. The credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union sometimes will have different credit report entries and or scores. It is best to check your credit score at least once every six months to make sure a creditor is not trying to falsely add a delinquent bill or payment etc. Also, this will help identify if someone is trying to falsely use your identity and committing fraud on your credit report ie..

    • j80caldwell profile image

      j80caldwell 2 years ago

      Thanks Matt..

    • Matt Easterbrook5 profile image

      Matthew A Easterbrook 2 years ago from Oregon

      Gteat and informative hub. Utilizing the three credit bureau process is the bedt wsy to check and manage your credit report and to check your Fico score. I have written a book that is a complete consumer tool box for helping people get

      out of debt. The books name is "Financial Revolution". Good job on the content

      Matthew A. Easterbrook

      Author-Financial Revolution