Late payments are not created equal; a 30 or 60 day late pay will not damage your score much, and can often be removed. However a 90 day or 120 day will cause significant damage to your score.
This mark can be deleted by the lender as a way to keep your business and keep you happy. We suggest you contact the lender and ask them to delete it.
A phone call and a letter including the reason is the most effective method. Also be respectful and nice to them because they do not have to remove it.
A 90 or 120 day mark is much harder to erase. If you account is still open, we suggest you contact the lender.
Make sure your account is up to date before you ask them to remove the mark. Lenders will often make this decision based on your payment history and the frequency of delinquency.
If they will not remove it then we suggest you file a dispute directly with the bureaus. This is done through a letter; you can create it or hire a service to do on your behalf.
The negative item will be on your report for a maximum of seven years. Your account will go to a collection agency after 180 days of delinquency.
A lender can remove it because they report monthly to the bureaus and can choose what to report. So if they do not report your late payment the next month then it will not be on your credit report.
You will find it very difficult to have the lender erase this mark if your account is not up to date. Additionally there is information that claims negative marks must stay for seven years.
This is not true; any item can be removed at any point in time, the maximum amount of time an item can remain is seven years. There are a few exceptions such as a bankruptcy. However, the Fair Credit Reporting Act clearly says that the maximum amount of time is seven years. There is no minimum amount of time and can thus be removed at any time.
In sum if you can not negotiate with the lender you should dispute it. This is done through a letter written yourself or by hiring a service.