If you miss a payment on a loan or credit card and don’t bring your account current within a month, your creditor could report your account to credit reporting agencies as 30 days late. This shows up as a negative mark on your credit report and can make future creditors wary of lending to you because you have a track record for late payment.
Call the customer service division of your credit card company or loan serving company responsible for reporting you as 30 days late. If the late payment was inaccurately reported, explain that you have proof of payment in the form of an electronic transfer statement or cancelled check and ask that the negative mark be retracted.
Ask for reconsideration of the late report if it was accurate, but you had a legitimate reason for not making your payment on schedule. For example, if you knew your payment was going to be late, but you kept in touch with the credit-issuing company and made alternate payment arrangements after being assured they wouldn’t report you as late, get in touch with the individual or department you previously spoke with. Remind them of your agreement, provide proof of correspondence and ask for the negative mark to be removed.
Contact the credit reporting agencies if the negative mark is inaccurate, or attached to an account that doesn’t belong to you. You will probably be asked to provide proof of payment or to submit a form that disputes the accuracy of the information found on your report.
Stay on top of the issue until you achieve resolution. If you were accurately reported as being late and the debt is yours, however, you may not be able to get the mark removed. You can diminish the impact the negative report has on your credit by paying future bills on time to improve your overall credit rating.
If you’re applying for a loan and the 30-day late mark on your credit is hampering your ability to qualify, explain to your potential lender why that payment was late. For example, if you experienced sudden job loss or illness and fell behind on your bills, but quickly rebounded, a single 30-day late report isn’t likely to seriously hamper your ability to secure credit and a good interest rate.
Regularly monitor your credit report. This can help you prevent identity theft and allows you to address and resolve inaccuracies as soon as they arise.
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