Most people know that if they pay their bills late, their credit scores will suffer. However, most people don’t know this: According to Credit.com, a single 90-day late payment is as damaging as a bankruptcy filing, a tax lien, a collection, a judgment, or a repossession. It doesn’t matter if you’re late paying a $50 credit card bill or a $2,000 mortgage payment. All that matters is that you were 90 days behind in paying your due balance.
Payment punctuality counts for about 35% of your overall credit score. Paying bills on time is generally the single most important contributor to a good credit score. Being late on any bill, for any length of time, is a possible sign of future non-payment of debt and is always viewed negatively by lenders. Late payments stay on your credit report for 7 years from the date of the initial missed payment.
A 30 or 60 day late payment will damage your credit score only while it is being reported as currently past due. They usually don’t cause lasting damage to your credit score after this period passes unless you make 30 or 60 day late payments on a regular basis.
If you only have a few 30-60 day late payments listed on your credit report, the best thing to do is contact your creditors by phone and ask them to remove it. Tell them a nice little story and ask them nicely to remove it. Follow the conversation with a written request to have the isolated late payments removed from your reports. However, if you consistently make late payments, it will probably take a little more effort.
As mentioned, a 90-120 day late payment is extremely damaging. At around 90-120 days, the creditor will usually write off the account and it will stay on your credit report as a charge off for 7 years.
If you are unable to get the creditor to remove the late payment history from your reports, there are a few other ways to do it. One of the best ways is to dispute them with the credit bureaus.