Late payments are derogatory marks in your credit report and may decrease the prospects of you getting a loan. Unfortunately, these marks remain in your credit report for up to seven years.
If you paid your loan on time or the entry has been there for more than seven years, you may have the entry removed from the report through your creditor or the credit bureau. However, if the entry is correct, you have to wait until the lapse of the period to have it removed from the report.
Here is how to get the late payment entry from your credit report.
Check If the Entries Are Correct
Before you dispute any late payment entry in your credit report, start by reviewing the details. Check the accounts that reported the payments late and the amounts that entered as late repayments. Remember, a penalty may be applied, which makes the reported amount a lot higher.
Then review your personal financial record to find out if these entries are correct. Some creditors may report you a day after the due date. However, most of them give you up to 30 days to clear the balance. If there is a discrepancy in the details reported, you can move ahead and file a dispute with the creditor or the credit bureau.
Call Your Creditor
If you have enough proof that the creditor misreported you, you may want to file a dispute with them. Include documentation such as a payment receipt or confirmation email.
Most creditors will just look at the issue and take steps to update their records with the credit bureau. This way, the entry will be deleted. Then monitor the credit reports for these changes, which generally takes a month to a few months to be effected.
Dispute Entries with your Credit Bureau
You may instead file a dispute with the Credit Bureau, especially if the lender is unreachable or unresponsive. Once you file a dispute with any credit bureau, it will contact the creditor that provided it with the information and ask them to respond to the claim.
If the creditor indeed finds the error and corrects it, it must notify all the other credit bureaus of the change in your entries. You should see the changes in subsequent reports after a month or so.
Each credit reference bureau reports independently of the others. Therefore, there is a likelihood that one or more may not update their records correctly, especially if the creditor did not send the changes to all of them. In that case, you have to file a dispute with the credit reference bureau with an inaccurate report. The firm will follow a similar procedure to have the credit report changed.
Each of the credit reference bureaus has its procedure of filing a dispute. For example, Experian allows disputes to be filed online. Others have mail, phone, and fax options. Filing a dispute is free, but you must provide all the supporting documentation.
Angela Kovacs of Van Buren Township, Michigan is the founder and CEO of Credit Repair Gal. A credit restoration firm in Michigan.