How Long Does it Take for Late Payments to Fall Off of a Credit Report?

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Your credit report shows a variety of entries, submitted by banks and companies as you conduct your financial business. If you make a late payment on a debt, the creditor will likely report the late payment to the credit bureaus. This negative notation stays on your credit report for years, and it can affect your credit score.

Late Payment Reporting

Creditors vary in the time period for reporting late payments. While many companies will wait until after 30 days pass before submitting a negative report to the credit bureaus, others are more proactive and will report late payments more quickly. Your borrowing and repayment history with a creditor might play a role in the time for reporting a late payment. A company may be more patient with a consumer who has a stellar repayment history.

Negative Information

Once a late payment notation hits your credit report, it will sit there as a part of your financial and borrowing history for up to seven years. As soon as seven years from the late payment occurrence passes, the notation will expire, and your credit report will no longer show this information.

Disputing Errors

If you think the late payment notation is an error, dispute it to clear out the incorrect information. Check each credit report from each of the three credit bureaus so you know which reports need disputing. Gather your account records that will prove your timely payment. Write a letter to the credit bureau of each incorrect credit report that documents the error and shows your proof of timely payment. Include copies of your account activity and send the letters via certified mail with a return receipt requested. The credit bureaus have to investigate your dispute, and you will get notification of the decision regarding your claim. If you succeed in proving your claim, the credit bureaus will remove the late payment notation immediately. If your dispute isn’t successful, your credit report won’t change and you will need to wait the full seven years for the notation to expire.

Negotiating for Removal

Even if the late payment notation was accurate, you might still get it removed from your credit report. Approach the creditor about removing the negative notation from your credit report. Some companies might agree to contact the credit bureaus to remove this information if you pay your balance in part or in full. If you land this agreement, get it in writing and signed for your protection. It’s also wise to check your credit report after several weeks go by to make sure the late payment information is gone.