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How Long Do Late Payments Stay On a Credit Report?

By Dan Miller · August 10, 2022 · 5 minute read

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How Long Do Late Payments Stay On a Credit Report?

One of the most important factors in your credit score is your payment history. New lenders want to make sure that you’ll pay them back on time, and your past payment history is an indicator that many lenders look at. Because of this, in most cases, credit bureaus will keep any late payments on your credit report for seven years.

Late payments only make it onto your credit report if they’re late for more than 30 days. Once a payment is late for 30 days, the creditor will likely report it to the credit bureau, where it will stay for seven years from the date of the first delinquent payment. Because late payments can have a negative impact on your credit score, it’s best to avoid them when possible.

What Is Considered a Late Payment?

Most accounts have a grace period after the due date where the lender will accept payment without any penalty. The exact length of a grace period will depend on the terms of your credit card or other account, but 15 days is common.

After the grace period, your lender may charge a late fee or make other changes to your account. Once your account is 30 days or more past due, your lender will typically report it to the major credit bureaus.

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When Do Late Payments Fall Off a Credit Report?

In most cases, it will take seven years for a late payment to fall off a credit report. Even if you bring your account current after the late payment has already been reported to the credit bureaus, it will still show up on your credit report for seven years after the first late payment. This is why one of the top credit card rules is to make payments on-time whenever possible.

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How Late Payments Affect Your Credit Score

One of the consequences of a credit card late payment is that it will have a negative impact on your credit score.

Your past payment history is one of the biggest factors in what affects your credit score. As such, if you have a significant amount of late payments on your credit report, it will be tough to have an outstanding credit score.

How to Remove Late Payments From a Credit Report

It’s difficult if not impossible to remove a late payment from your credit report — unless it was reported in error.

However, the only way to find out if a late payment is reported in error is if you regularly review your credit report. If you have documentation that shows that you made the payment on time, you can contact the credit bureau and ask them to update your credit score and credit report.

What Can You Do to Minimize the Impact of a Late Payment?

If you’re willing to do the legwork, there are a couple steps you can take that could potentially minimize the impacts of a late payment.

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Negotiate

One option you have for minimizing the impact of a late payment is to negotiate with your credit card issuer. This will generally be more effective if it’s only been a short time since your payment was due or if you have not had late payments previously. For example, your lender may be willing to waive any late fees or penalty interest if you enroll in autopay and/or pay any past-due balance.

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Dispute Errors on Your Credit Reports

If it’s been more than 30 days and your lender has already reported the late fee to the credit bureaus, it can be difficult to remove it from your credit report. However, if you have documentation that you made the payment on time, you can contact the credit bureaus to have them update and correct your credit report.

This is why it is important to understand how checking your credit score affects your rating — generally when you are reviewing your own credit report, it does not impact your credit score. Regularly reviewing your credit report for errors and discrepancies is a great financial habit to have.

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Guide to Avoiding Late Payments

Since it is difficult if not impossible to remove late payments from your credit report once they’re there, the best course of action is to avoid late payments in the first place. Here are a few tips on some of the best ways to avoid late payments.

Set Up Autopay

One great way to avoid late payments is to set up autopay from a checking or savings account. That way, you know that your payments will be made each and every month.

You can customize your autopay payments to cover the minimum amount, the full statement balance, or anywhere in between. You’ll just want to make sure you have enough funds in the attached account to cover the balance.

Set Payment Reminders

If you can’t or don’t want to set up autopay on your accounts, another option is to set up payment reminders. That way, you can get an email or text message a few days before your payment is due. Getting a reminder can help you remember to make the payment on or before its due date.

Change Your Payment Due Date

Sometimes the due date for a particular loan or credit card doesn’t line up conveniently with when you have the money to pay it. You might find that your due date always seems to come a day or two before payday. If that’s the case, many lenders allow you to change your payment due date to one that’s more convenient for you.

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The Takeaway

Paying your credit card and other debts on time is one of the best ways to ensure that your credit score stays strong. Late payments can be reported to the credit bureaus as soon as 30 days after the due date. Once they’re on your credit report, they will stay there for seven years from the date of the first late payment.

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FAQ

Can I get late payments removed from my credit report?

Typically, once they’ve been reported to the credit bureaus, you can only get late payments removed if you didn’t actually pay late. If you have documentation that shows that you made the payment on time, you can submit that to each credit bureau and ask that they update your credit score.

Is it true that after 7 years your credit is clear?

Late payments and some other negative factors do remain on your credit report for seven years. That means that if you have not had any negative marks or late payments for seven years, you’ll be starting with a fresh slate.

Is payment history a big factor in your credit score?

Yes, payment history is a big factor in how your credit score is determined. While each credit bureau calculates your credit score differently, payment history is typically listed as one of the biggest factors in what affects your credit score.


Photo credit: iStock/tommaso79

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