Payment history makes up 35 percent of your credit score. Late payments stay on your credit report for seven years -- dragging your credit score down. According to Daily Finance, a recent late payment could drop a FICO credit score of 780 or higher by between 90 and 110 points. You may dispute inaccurate payment history, but to remove accurate information you must nicely ask your creditor.
Pull all three of credit reports -- TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. You are entitled to a free copy of each credit report on an annual basis from AnnualCreditReport.com. You may also pull a free credit report if you are denied credit, unemployed or a victim of identity theft.
Dispute inaccurate information. Each credit reporting agency provides a dispute process to remove inaccurate information from your credit report. All three bureaus provide an online dispute process, but you may also mail a letter disputing the entry and attach documentation. It takes 30 days to investigate and remove inaccurate information. The credit bureau provides a free credit report if your dispute is successful.
Draft a goodwill letter requesting the removal of the late payment entry. Include the reason for the late payment and request the removal of the entry. Credit Karma recommends emphasizing your customer loyalty and outlining how you have improved your finances since the late payment. Creditors are not required to remove an entry, but they might do so to keep you as a customer.
Recheck your credit reports. Your creditor may not respond to your goodwill letter. Wait at least a month for the creditor to update your credit report. It may take longer, depending on the reporting schedule of the creditor.
- Equifax: How Long Does Information Stay on My Credit Report?
- TransUnion: How to Remove Inaccurate Late Payment Information from Your Credit Report
- Daily Finance: How Much Will One Late Payment Hurt Your Credit Score?
- Credit Karma: 4 Ways to Get a Better Credit Score Now
- MyFICO: What’s In My FICO Score?
- Equifax: Consumer Statements on Credit Report
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