Late payments on your credit reports are never a good thing. Exactly, how much a late payment affects your credit score  depends on how late you are and how many late payments you have, but every late payment is negative and your credit score would be in better shape if they were removed from your credit reports.

The credit bureaus are allowed to report a late payment on your credit reports for up to 7 years, but this does not mean a late payment MUST remain on your credit reports for that long. There are a number of things you may be able to do to get a late payment permanently removed in much less time.

Ask and You May Receive

If you have minor late payments on your credit report, your creditors may be willing to stop reporting it to the credit bureaus as a thank you for being a customer and to ensure your ongoing business. If your account is in good standing, try calling your creditor and asking them to stop reporting the late payment. If they are not willing to or you are unable to reach someone with the authority to do so, try also sending a brief but polite follow-up letter reiterating your request.

Disputing Late Payments

If your creditor is unwilling to remove the late payment, which will probably be the case if you have been late multiple times or have accounts that were not paid until 90 or 120 days past their due date, there are still other things you can try.

If you feel that the late payment is unfairly lowering your credit score (is misleading or unclear) or is inaccurate (not yours, wrong information, duplicate listing, etc.), you can dispute it with the credit bureaus. You can submit a credit dispute online via the individual credit bureau websites, however, credit repair experts suggest writing your disputes and mailing them via certified mail. That way you have a record of your disputes and verification that they were received.

Upon receiving your disputes, the credit bureaus have 30 days to verify that the late payment is being reported accurately. If they are unable to do so for any reason, then the late payment must be corrected or deleted from your credit reports.

Getting Help Deleting Late Payments

Getting late payments removed from your credit reports is not always easy, especially if you have a number of late payments which many people looking to repair their credit score do. For this reason, many people turn to professional credit repair companies to help clean up their credit reports.

Because credit repair companies have the knowledge and experience gained from helping a large number of people delete late payments, they will likely be able to generate better results in less time than if you were to work to clean up your credit yourself. On top of that, the best credit repair companies will be able to employ a number of other advanced credit repair tactics not discussed in this article.