A store worker uses a laptop as her coworker sweeps the floor of the store in the background.

Late Payments and Your Credit Report

Last Updated: March 2, 2023
4 min read

Key points about: when late payments appear on your credit report.

  1. Payments that are 30 days late are reported to credit bureaus, and late payments on your credit report can affect your credit score.

  2. Most negative marks on your credit report, like late payments, are automatically removed from your credit history after seven years.

  3. Scheduling automatic payments, even for the minimum amount, can help you avoid late payments.

Sometimes, a late credit card payment can damage your payment history, even if it’s just a few days late. After the 30-day mark, missed payments will typically be reported to all three credit bureaus and may affect your credit score. Student loan late payments are usually reported to each credit bureau after 90 days.

Here’s some helpful information about late payments, how they may affect your credit score, and how long late payments stay on credit reports:

Types of late payments on a credit report

For creditors and lenders, a single late payment may signify a broken trust. A missed payment may not only land you a late fee but also identify you as a greater credit risk to the lender. That’s why payment history is usually the most heavily weighted factor in calculating FICO® Credit Scores 1, which accounts for about a third of the formula for your credit score. FICO® Scores put late payments into various categories, including “how severe it is,” “how recent it is,” and “how frequently you’ve paid late.” The more severe the category, the more damaging late payments may be to your credit score. Generally, a late payment from many years ago won’t hurt as much as the one reported as currently late, especially if you have excellent credit.

How to avoid late credit card payments

You likely have a busy life, and sometimes it can be easy to forget a payment.

Check with your credit card issuer to see if you can set up text and email alerts to remind you when your bill is due. For example, with Discover you can log in to your account and navigate to the Manage Alerts page to view your options and set up the alerts that best serve you.

Did you know?

You can avoid late payments by setting up an automatic payment from your checking account. This helps ensure you make your credit card payments on time in case you forget. DirectPay will automatically withdraw any amount you specify from your bank account each month so you never miss a Discover credit card payment.

What to do if you are behind on credit card payments

If you cannot make payments on your credit card bills, stop using credit to make purchases and avoid taking on more debt.

The best solution is to get your account current as soon as possible, which means paying the past-due amount on your credit card debt. If you can’t pay the total amount at once, talk to your creditor to see what options are available, like an adjusted interest rate. This can be helpful to get back on track and avoid being sent to a collection agency, even if your account won’t be reported as current until the entire past-due amount is paid. 

You can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if you need support learning to manage credit card debt. They can answer questions about a credit account, credit score, or why a debt collector is contacting you. 

How long do late payments stay on a credit report?

If you’re 30 days behind on your payment, creditors can report your late payment to the major credit bureaus, which will impact your credit history. At that point, late payments can stay on your credit report for up to seven years from the date of the original missed payment, i.e., the delinquency date. Even when you’ve paid the past-due balance, late payments can stay on your credit report for a long time and continue to impact your credit score. If you’re able to get current on your account before the 30-day mark, you can avoid having your late payment reported to the credit bureaus, but you could still face late fees and potentially an increase in your APR from your creditor.

How to remove late payments from your credit report

Unless a late payment is inaccurate or an incorrect late payment, it is difficult to get a late payment removed from your credit report. If you see an incorrect late payment on your credit report, you should dispute it immediately with your credit provider and a credit reporting agency. The credit bureaus typically have 30 days to review your dispute, and if they agree that the information is inaccurate, they’ll remove the late payment from your credit reports. 

According to the fair credit reporting act, credit reporting agencies must remove negative information from your credit history (like late payment history) after seven years from the date of first delinquency and bankruptcies after seven to ten years from the date it was filed.

It’s important to look over your credit report at least once a year to see what is being reported. By reviewing credit reports regularly, you ensure that your credit file is in good standing, or if you find out that you have bad credit, you can take steps toward credit repair. You can do so for free at AnnualCreditReport.com per Federal law (the three credit bureaus will allow you to access them weekly until December 2023).

Was this article helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!