Late payments can be a big deal, and they count significantly toward your credit score calculation.
In my experience, as long as you don’t have several late payments on the same account, it’s really not that difficult to get them removed. Here are three methods you can use to get them removed.
Also, before you start with these methods, I strongly recommend monitoring your credit report and credit score to see right when it’s updated.
1. Request a Goodwill Adjustment from the original creditor to remove the late payment
The idea is simple and it works incredible well. Many times creditors are happy to grant “goodwill adjustments” if your previous payment history is relatively good and you have established a good relationship with the creditor. This is probably the easiest and surest way to get a late payment removed from your credit report. The process involves writing the creditor a letter explaining your situation (why you were late) and asking that they “forgive” the late payment and adjust your credit report accordingly. The easiest way to write a goodwill / forgiveness letter is to use the sample letter I created as a template.
2. Negotiate removal by offering to sign up for automatic payments.
I have never actually tried this method myself, but from what I understand creditors frequently offer to remove late payment entries if you, in exchange, agree to sign up for automatic payments. I really like this idea because it works out well for both parties: the creditor can ensure future payments will be made on time, and you don’t have to ever worry about missing another payment. I would love to hear from those of you who have succeeded with this method!
3. Dispute the late payment as inaccurate
While I certainly do not advocate lying (that is, claiming an entry is inaccurate when you know it’s not), if you find ANY inaccuracies on the late payment entry (dates, amounts, etc), you can dispute the late payment as inaccurate.
Sometimes creditors have a difficult time verifying the exact details of your account history. Therefore, if you dispute the late payment and they are unable (or simply don’t bother) to verify it, the negative entry will be removed.[divider top="1"]
An Example “Goodwill Letter” for Credit Card Accounts
One of the most successful blog posts I’ve ever written on this personal finance site is the one about removing late payments from your credit reports by using a goodwill letter.
Goodwill letters are nothing more than a plea to an institution (banks, credit card companies, automotive companies, hospitals, utilities, etc.) to remove any late payments you may have had from your three major credit reports (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax).
In that initial post I provided an example goodwill letter template that readers could copy and amend for their specific situation. To date the letter has been downloaded over one thousand times and I’ve received many thankful emails from readers who have used the sample goodwill letter to remove late payments from their files and enjoyed an immediate boost to their FICO Scores.
Today I am releasing a completely new goodwill letter aimed at credit card companies to help you get those unsightly late payments removed from your credit report. Besides, if too many people continue to use the original goodwill letter template those “evil” financial institutions may start to get suspicious!
A text version of the letter is listed below or you can download a MS Word Template here. Good luck and happy credit repairing!!!
Late payment removal request regarding account # XXXXXXX
To Whom It May Concern:
I have been a loyal card member of Capital One for 7 (change to the # of years you’ve been a card member) years and couldn’t be happier with my decision to join the Capital One Family. You’ve always offered some of the most competitive rates and rewards programs, and even beat a competitor’s lowest interest rate when I inquired about transferring my balance to their card (replace this sentence with a description of a time the company went “above and beyond’ to help you).
Unfortunately, in December of 2010 (replace this with the date of your late payment(s) here) I took advantage of our relationship and failed to submit my monthly payment on time. It was an exceptionally busy time and my life as I was balancing the birth of our first child while taking night classes to fulfill one of my long standing career goals (replace this sentence with a POSITIVE life event that may have contributed to you missing the payment). Now that I have found a prosperous balance in my life I honestly cannot associate with the person that let this payment obligation go unattended to. I fully respect my obligations with Capital One and have worked diligently to amend my relationship with you by regaining your trust. A brief look at my account will reveal I have successfully made 12 on time payments since my unfortunate lapse of judgment.
Recently, I have begun search for a more financially rewarding career in business and it has come to my attention that my late payment(s) with Capital One may negatively affect my chances of obtaining a career in the field I am pursing. As you may know, FICO scores are being used more and more in the selection of prospective job applicants.
In light of my renewed focus and demonstrated commitment to rebuilding my trust with your company, I am requesting that you give me a second chance at a positive credit rating by revising the late payment(s) as reported on my three major credit bureau files (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax). I sincerely hope Capital Ones believes in their customers and I humbly request your consideration to allow me to pursue the career of my dreams. I appreciate your time and look forward to receiving a favorable decision from you department soon.
Your Name Here