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Here's how long late payments stay on your credit report

When you pay late, you'll often incur a late fee and may hurt your credit score since late payments remain on your credit report for a while.

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With so many bills to keep track of, it can be easy to miss a payment. A late payment can be no big deal if you catch it right away, but the longer your bill is past due, the greater risk it poses to your credit.

Late payments can appear on your credit report and stay there for seven years. In addition to hurting your credit, late payments can also cost you money. First-time late fees cost up to $29 and that rises up to $40 for subsequent missed payments made within six billing cycles.

If you recently missed a payment, here’s what you need to know about the impact of late payments on your credit.

How long do late payments stay on your credit report?

Late payments remain on your credit reports for seven years from the original date of the delinquency. Even if you repay overdue bills, the late payment won’t fall off your credit report until after seven years. And no matter how late your payment is, say 30 days versus 60 days, it will still take seven years to drop off.

Since payment history is the most important factor of your credit score, one late payment can make a big impact on your credit. However, the impact of a late payment lessens over time, especially if it's only a one-time mistake and you counteract it with on-time payments. You have a 30-day window to repay a late bill before it appears on your credit report. Anything more than 30 days will likely cause a dip in your credit score that can be as much as 180 points.

Here are more details on what to expect based on how late your payment is:

  • Payments less than 30 days late: If you miss your due date but make a payment before it’s 30 days past due, you’re in luck. Creditors don’t report a late payment to the credit bureaus until it’s 30 days past due. However, you may still incur a late fee.
  • Payments 30 or more days late: Once a late payment is 30 days overdue, it will appear on your credit report. You’re still responsible for making up the missed payment, so repay it as soon as possible.
  • Payments more than 60 days late: If you don’t repay the late payment and miss your next due date, a 60-day late notice will appear on your credit report. This can hurt your credit score even more. And if you miss several payments, more notices will show on your credit report, your debt may be sent to a collection agency and your creditor will likely close your account.

Late payments appear on your credit report under the account that you haven't paid. So if you're behind on a credit card, there will be a note in that section of your report saying you're 30, 60, or 90 days late (and so on).

How to avoid late payments

Some credit cards have no late fees, like the Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card. But a late payment still puts you at risk of hurting your credit score. Card issuers report your payment to the credit bureaus if it's 30 or more days late, regardless if they waive late fees.

To prevent negative information appearing on your credit report, learn how to avoid late payments by following these steps.

Set up autopay

The simplest way to prevent late payments is to set up autopay. It only takes a minute to set up autopay and customize your payment for the minimum due, your total statement balance or another amount.

Set payment reminders

If you don’t want to set up autopay, create calendar reminders or opt-in to text and email alerts through your creditors. You can choose alerts for when your statement is available, when your payment is due in a set number of days, when your payment posts and more. Note that these options may vary by creditor.

Change your payment due date

You likely have a handful of bills to pay each month, which means your due dates are spread out over the month. It can be hard to keep track of multiple due dates, so consider adjusting your payment due dates as needed. You can make your bills due on the same day or right after you get paid.

Petal 2 Visa Credit Card issued by WebBank, Member FDIC.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.