How Long Does A Late Payment Stay On Your Credit Report?

A late payment can be on your credit report for up to seven years. But you may be able to minimise the damage it does to your report.

A clean and debt free credit report is perhaps everyone’s necessity in life in today’s world. In fact, payments made in a timely manner, is the main reason affecting how good or bad your credit score will be.

Which is why, missing a payment is painful. Wondering how long does a late payment stay on your credit report? Well, according to the three biggest credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, a late payment in general, is reflected on your credit report for up to seven years – which is a lot.

If your credit score is already pretty low, a later payment won’t hurt your credit score as much, but it will still cause some amount of damage.

However, let’s be real. It’s impossible to always pay on time, as you could suddenly face a financial crisis, or even get unemployed. Especially in this pandemic, tons of thousand of people lost their jobs, which of course affected their on-time payments.

Here’s what we feel you should know about how late payments contribute to your credit score and how you can counter them.

Let’s dig in!

What is a Late Payment?

First and foremost, let’s address what exactly is a late payment. As frustrating as it can be, there’s unfortunately no one same rule that all lenders abide by. Every lender decides differently on what is considered as a late payment, and the timeline of reporting it to a credit bureau.

In maximum cases, if your payment is late for more than 30 days, one of the three major credit bureaus will be notified – basically your credit report will reflect the late payment from that moment onwards.

A late payment is commonly known as a delinquency. It will no longer be reflected on your credit report after seven year, starting from the day it was marked as late. This works similarly if you had a late payment two times in a row.

How Do Late Payments Affect Your Credit Score?

Late payments affect every individual’s credit score differently, depending on their situation. Moreover, it’s vital to remember that every credit bureau evaluates your credit information in their own way, before assigning a credit score to you.

A particularly late payment can have a more serious impact on one score as compared to that of another – hence why your scores differ from one credit bureau to another. Of course the severity of a drop in your credit score depends on your credit file and teh score itself.

That being said, here are some basic rules that will inevitably affect your credit score:

  • The longer your delinquency period is, the greater the impact it will have on your credit score, as compared to a shorter delinquency. Of course, assuming that every other score is equal.
    A 90-day late payment can cause a significant amount of damage to your score as compared to a 30-day late payment.
  • The number of delinquencies you have on your credit report, matters as well. Typically, the more delinquencies you have, the higher negative impact it’ll have on your scores.
  • All in all, a delinquency will have the biggest impact on your credit scores when it’s initially reported. But, as time goes by, the impact the delinquency has on your credit scores decreases.
    However, the timeline as to when your credit scores will gradually recover, may also rely on several gatibe issues that may end up affecting them.
  • If you already have a perfect credit score, rather than a fair or poor sore, a late payment will cause you to have a more severe drop.
  • If you have late payments on more than one account, this will have a worse impact on your credit scores as compared to if you had a late payment on a single account.

However, if you actively work on improving your credit scores, it may help you recover from previously made late payments.

How To Delete Late Payment From Credit Report?

As we’ve shared above, the longer you allow the late-payments to be dragged on, the longer the delinquency it will be, and ultimately cause more damage to your credit scores each passing day.

Hence, if your bills have passed their due date, the sooner you make the payment, the better it’ll be for your credit scores. But, if you would rather take a step further, and want to thoroughly delete a late payment from your credit reports, there are ways you may just be able to go about doing so.


One potentially impactful way to delete a late payment from your credit reports, is to try negotiating with your ender. However, you need to have a solid and honest reason for having passed your payments due dates.

If your lender decided to make things easier for you, they might agree to remove the late payment remark on your credit reports. But, you’ll likely either have to come to a partial agreement with your lender or agree to pay the entire debt which can be made in installments.

Do be mindful to get the decision made by the lender in writing – you don’t want to have to do it twice if your lender doesn’t acknowledge the agreement in the future.

A Goodwill Letter

This is another way of perhaps having your late payments removed from your credit reports, but there’s absolutely no guarantee that it will even work in the first place.

Basically, when you decide to write a goodwill letter, you will be explaining the history you have with your lender, your financial situation, and taking responsibility for your late payments. This may be enough in some cases – but don’t rely on it 100 percent.

You might have a better chance of succeeding with this method, if our credit reports depict an excellent history of making on-time payments.

Ask Creditor to Forgive Fee

This usually only works if your late payment is less than 30 days. You would still be charged a late payment fee or interest, but it won’t cause much damage to your credit report as long as you pay before you hit the 30-day mark.

Moreover, if you’re rarely or never been late, your creditor may forgive the late payment fee if you were to call and explain why this happened in the first place.

Bring Your Account Current

It’s important to bring our account current at once, if your late payment is for more than 30 days past its due date. 30 days late is already bad enough, but it’s better than 60 days late, which isn’t as bad as being 90 days late.

The sooner you pay your late payment, the lesser the damage it does to your credit report.

Dispute Errors On Credit Reports

If you realise that a particular payment entry on your credit reports was wrongly marked as late, you can always dispute these errors with the relevant credit bureau. Furthermore, you have all the right to challenge the errors reflected on your credit reports.

If a credit bureau is unable to verify the information on your credit report, they must indeed remove that particular information. You should further notify the lender to explain that you’ll be disputing that information that was given to the bureau.

Most lenders will specify an address when you’re disputing for an error. You can file your credit report dispute for free by mail, online or over a call, and explain why exactly you believe that the late payment is an error.

Do remember to attach relevant documents like canceled cheques or bank statements that prove you had made on-time payments.

How Can I Avoid Late Payments?

In all honesty, avoiding late payments isn’t that difficult or impossible. Here are some ways you can avoid late payments:

  • Automatic payments: Basically what you can do is set up automatic payments to at least pay the minimum amount that is due at the end of each month, so that you’re never late. Of course, you can pay more than the minimum at any point.
    However, not everyone would be comfortable with the automatic payments method, as these payments will be taken out of your bank accounts each month.
  • Set reminders: If automatic payments are not your cuppa tea, there’s a more simpler method of avoiding late payments. You can simply set a monthly reminder before the payment due date so that you’re aware of when you’re supposed to make a payment.
    Just be sure to pass reminders every time you open another account or when the due date of your payment changes.
  • Select your choice of payment due dates: If your paycheck comes in at a different date and later than when your payment is due, you can always call your lender and amend the payment due dates. This usually always works.
  • Reduce number of bills each month: It’s very much normal to have tons of bills to pay each month, from utility bills to music app bills, everyone has been there at a point where they struggle to prioritize their bills.
    Which is why it’s important to set your priorities right and cut down on expenses that are least important. Having a bad credit report hinders a lot of things in the future, such as taking out a mortgage.
  • Make payments on credit cards: You can consider making payments through your credit cards throughout the month. Generally speaking, if you pay down your balance every other week or so, you’ll be protecting your credit reports.
    Basically you would have already paid before the due date, and keeping your balance at a low level relatively to your credit limits, further betters your credit utilization – the second largest influence on your credit scores.


The answer to low long does a late payment stay on your credit report, is much more straightforward than you know, Basically, it’s the minor details and carelessness that causes your late payments to reflect badly on your credit reports.

Credit score recovery after a late payment is possible if you’re genuinely dedicated in wanting to remove late payments from your credit report. Ultimately, we hope this article helped you understand what a late payment is, how it affects your credit report, how you can remove it and tips on how to avoid late payments.

Sandra Johnson

Sandra Johnson

Sandra Johnson was a few years out of school and took a job as a life insurance agent in California, selling coverage door-to-door for Prudential. The experience taught her about the technical components of insurance and its benefits for individuals and society, as well as the misunderstandings people often have about insurance. She has over ten years’ experience in the insurance industry, having worked as both a Broker and Underwriter, assisting clients across a broad range of industries. At Insurance Noon, Sarah diligently gathers all the required information and curates up pieces to provide meaningful insurance solutions. Her personal value proposition is to demonstrate a genuine interest in always adding value for clients.Her determined approach to guiding clients has turned her into a platinum adviser to multiple insurers.

Insurance Noon is the world's leading source of insurance related content on the web, focusing on industry news, buying guides, reviews, and much more.