Falling behind in payments is extremely detrimental to your personal score in the FICO and VantageScore models. The score is guaranteed to drop, so it will become difficult to get affordable rates or even approval from lenders. Moreover, this indicator is a universal measure of financial health considered by insurance companies, landlords and even recruiters. If late payments appear on your report, your options are limited.
The easiest way to clear this information is to hire one of the best credit repair agencies – check the last note for additional information on these services. If the entries are correct, there is no legitimate way to erase them from the records.
Late payments are qualified as derogatory marks, elements which reflect the non-respect of personal obligations. Like most entries of this type, they naturally expire after seven years. Missed payments are documented within 30 days unless related to medical expenses – see this guide on how to get medical recoveries off credit report in 2021. So what can you do if the damage has been done?
Method 1. Letter of Goodwill
This method is simple, but the result is not guaranteed, since credit institutions are required to report accurate information to the bureaus. Nevertheless, since it won’t cost you anything, it’s worth a try. You can easily find models of these letters online. The goal is to explain why you have fallen behind on your payments and are determined to meet your obligations in the future. If the letter is compelling, the lender may agree to exclude the information from the data it shares with the bureaus.
If you are only a few days late, a better option is to call the lender immediately after making the payment. Financial institutions do not report payments as missed until they are 30 days late. If you act quickly, they may agree to let you go with caution. It can only work a few times at most.
Method 2. File a Dispute
Under The Fair Credit Reporting Act, every citizen of the United States is entitled to accurate records. The offices are obligated to remove unverifiable and unsubstantiated details, allowing you to dispute any element of your report. According to recent studies, about a third of Americans have one or more imperfections in their records.
So, if you notice false or erroneous data concerning late payments, call a catering company or file a dispute yourself. Professional services speed up the outcome because this multi-layered process is time-consuming. It includes four main steps:
1. Data aggregation
Each lender can share data with one, two or three offices, so you should collect all three reports to get the full picture. At www.annualcreditreport.com, you can get a free copy of your current records from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Until April 20, 2022, you can do this every week.
2. Analysis of reports
After getting the histories, examine them line by line. Pay attention to minor details like spelling and amounts. Any incorrect information may be challenged under the FCRA.
3. Preparation of evidence
Although the offices thoroughly investigate each claim, you should always provide supporting evidence. Bank statements and any official document from your lender can serve as proof.
4. Initiation of Disputes
Finally, based on the evidence, you can create a compelling dispute letter. There is no single layout, and you can use it for free Example from the CFPB website. If you hire catering experts, they will do everything on your behalf, from data collection to correspondence.
In 30 or 45 days, the office will get back to you with a formal response. If the changes are accepted and the derogating information disappears, you will receive an updated copy of your report by mail. Note that if the late payments you wish to dispute are on two or more reports, you will need to open separate disputes.
Method 3. Letter of Payment for Deletion
If you’re looking for ways to get rid of collections, you’re bound to find guides outlining the so-called “pay to delete” letters. The idea is that the collection agency can agree to remove the account from the data they share if you pay them back. On the other hand, this is a gray legal area, as collectors are also obliged to remove only false information. This method can only work for paid collections, but it will not delete the original account and the late payments associated with it.
When are late payments reported?
Lenders follow strict reporting cycles, giving you the opportunity to correct a missed payment before it appears on your report. The information is sent to the offices 30 days after the due date. So, if you pay earlier, the creditor may not report it. After 30 days, there is no possibility to delete this information. However, unpaid medical bills are different. The health care provider reports this information if your insurer does not pay for six consecutive months.
What is the impact of late payments on personal scores?
Once your skid is reported, the effect is immediate. The score is a dynamic metric calculated based on your history, so it changes all the time as new information comes to light. Failure to pay on time is the most damaging factor for FICO and VantageScore. It defines respectively 35% and 40% of the evaluations.
Being 30 days late can deprive you of as much 100 dots. This can prevent you from getting the best loan, rent, and insurance terms, or even getting approved. Even a single mistake will lower the total. Don’t rely on your memory – use reminders or set up automatic transfers to avoid missing the next due date. This faux pas has long-lasting and profound implications.
Even a single late payment is guaranteed to affect your score. If this information is false, you can dispute it through the formal dispute procedure. If true, the only way to mitigate the effects is to generate a positive track record.
Sticking to the payment schedule is crucial for your financial future. If the damage has been done, make sure it doesn’t happen again. Work with your personal budget and learn ways to rebuild the score, such as reducing the utilization rate.