The average man out there knows that your credit score would be severely affected when you make late payments, or miss payments altogether. Nevertheless, most do not know that in terms of credit ratings and score, one single payment that is late by 90 days can be as damaging as filing for bankruptcy! And it doesn't even matter if your payment is merely USD 100, you would still fall into the same late payment category and the effect would be severe. 35% of your overall credit ratings score is judged by the punctuality of your payment, and that is more than one third of your score. Thus it is imperatively important that you pay your bills on time, without leaving it late or missing it altogether. If your report is filled with late payments, potential creditors would view this adversely as they would expect you to continue with the same trend when you obtain a loan from them. And remember that any late payment that you commit would be in your report for the next 7 years!
So what can we do to remove late payments from your credit report? There are ways, such as listed below:
1) You need a copy of your credit report to be able to evaluate how to make changes and eliminate trace of late payments, thus head to annualcreditreport.com and request for your free credit report from any of the three credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You should be able to obtain your reports within 2 weeks of applying for it.
2) Once you have the report in hand, if you are looking at late payments that are between 30-60 days, contact your creditors directly and request for the removal of the late payment in a decent and nice way. You could probably explain why your payment was late, and apologize for the delay. You could also follow up with the request by sending in a written-request, citing the phone conversation that you have with your creditors. This would work well if you have one or two late payments, but if you are constantly defaulting in your payments, there would be considerably more effort from your side.
3) If that does not work, you could contact the credit bureau that provided your credit report, and lodge a complaint about a late payment that is inaccurate, and request for an investigation. You could send them a letter, call them directly or utilize the online dispute form on their site. Make sure that the credit companies receive the letter however, if not there is no point in pursuing the matter.
4) Use relevant backing information to back up your complain as much as you can, credit card statements and personal finance letter would work perfectly here. The harder you try, the higher the chances are of you having the negative feature removed from your report. The credit companies have approximately 30 days to respond to your first complaint.
5) If the credit reporting company does not rule in your favor, you should then lodge a formal dispute complaint. The procedure is the same as before, only that this time you should clearly specify that you are disputing the claim. Nevertheless, ensure that you have all the supporting documents before pursuing this matter further, or else it is simply a waste of time.
With some luck, following the above mentioned steps should be able to clear traces of late payments from your credit report. Good luck!