How to remove late payments from your credit report

Consistently making on-time payments is an important part of using credit responsibly. But nobody’s perfect. And making an accidental late payment can happen to anyone. 

But what happens next? How do late payments affect your credit? And is it ever possible to get a late payment removed from your credit report

Key takeaways

  • You can’t remove accurately reported late payments from your credit report.
  • You can only get a late payment removed from your credit report if it was reported in error. 
  • To get an incorrect late payment removed from your credit report, you need to file a dispute with the credit bureau that issued the report containing the error. 
  • Setting up automatic payments can help you avoid late payments, and regularly monitoring your credit can help you spot any that were inaccurately reported. 

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How long do late payments stay on your credit report?

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), negative information, such as late payments, can stay on a credit report for up to seven years. Late payments can impact your credit scores for that entire period, but the impact typically decreases over time.

How to get late payments removed from a credit report

You can’t remove a correctly reported late payment from a credit report. And according to the CFPB, you can’t pay a company to do it for you either. So if you see companies offering to remove accurately reported late payments and other negative information from your credit reports, don’t buy it.

Say you made a payment on time, but it was inaccurately reported to the credit bureau as late. You should be able to remove it from your credit report. This is because the payment was reported late in error—which is the only way a late payment can be removed from your credit report.

How to dispute inaccurate late payments on a credit report

Incorrectly reported late payments on your credit report can be removed by filing a dispute with the credit bureau that’s reporting the error. If you find the same error on your reports from all three major credit bureaus, you may have to file separate disputes:

Once you file the dispute, it’ll be investigated. If the late payment is found to have been reported in error, it’ll be removed from the credit report. You can look to the CFPB for more guidance on how to dispute an error on your credit report.

How do late payments impact a credit score?

It’s hard to know exactly how late payments impact your credit score. That’s partly because you have multiple credit reports and scores. 

Credit reports are compiled by three major credit bureaus. They contain information about your credit history, including things like:

Then, credit-scoring companies—like VantageScore® and FICO®—use that information to calculate your credit scores. But each credit score might be calculated differently. And late payments might be treated in different ways.

So while it’s hard to predict the exact impact of a late payment, payment history can be an important factor in calculating credit scores. And making on-time payments is a good way to keep late payments from impacting your scores at all.

Removing late payments from credit report FAQ

Still want to know more? Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about late payments: 

Typically, late payments aren’t reported to the three major credit bureaus until they’re at least 30 days past your payment due date. 

But it’s still best to pay on time and make at least the minimum payment as soon as possible. A late payment made before it’s 30 days past due can still have consequences, like late fees, interest rate increases and losing a promotional APR

Plus, late payments are typically also reported to the credit bureaus when they reach 60, 90, 120 and 150 days past due. As those days add up, the impact of the late payment might grow. 

Changes to your credit scores aren’t the only consequence of making late payments. Late payments can also lead to late fees and interest rate increases. 

Plus, if a credit card account is 180 days past due, the issuer might have to close and charge off the account. That means the credit card account is permanently closed, but the account holder still has to pay the debt. Some issuers might charge off accounts sooner than 180 days past due.

Late payments can’t be removed from a credit report unless they were reported in error. So if a late payment is correctly reported, no one can remove it from a credit report.

A goodwill letter is a note to a creditor asking to remove a negative item from credit reports. A letter like this might explain why a payment was missed in hopes that the creditor will remove the error from the report. This is what separates a goodwill letter from a formal dispute. 

But even with a goodwill letter, it’s not possible to remove the derogatory mark if the late payment was already reported—only time can lessen the impact. So if you’re dealing with this, try to be patient and focus on what you can do: Continue to use your credit responsibly and pay your bills on time every month.

How to remove late payments from your credit report in a nutshell

Remember: Accurately reported late payments can’t be removed from your credit reports. And you can’t pay someone else to remove accurate information from your reports either. 

But late payments will fall off your credit reports after seven years. And there are things you can do to help make sure you don’t make late payments in the first place.

Whether you’re worried about a late payment or not, it’s a good idea to regularly monitor your credit. You can learn how to request free copies of your credit reports at

With CreditWise from Capital One, you can access your TransUnion credit report and VantageScore 3.0 credit score anytime, without negatively impacting your score. CreditWise is free to use, and it’s available to everyone, even if you’re not a Capital One customer yet.

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