Credit Infocenter

Will One Late Payment Impact Your Credit Score?

By: Staff

Last Updated: September 26, 2017

Have you ever wondered if that one late payment will tank even the most stellar of credit histories? If you are having trouble making ends meet, you are probably trying to resist the temptation to be late with a payment. Assuming this is your first offense, it may not be a big deal but is that really the truth?  Below are some commonly asked questions and we are going to play true or false. Then, you decide if it is worth missing that one payment and if it will affect your credit score.

Will the Following Affect Your Credit Score — True or False?

1. The Better Your Credit Score, the More Your Score Suffers From One Late Payment. True. If you have a FICO score of 780 or higher, you can see that number fall by as much as 100 points from just one late payment. By comparison, a score of 680 may see just a 60 to 80 point drop from one late payment.

2. All Lenders Report Late Payments After 30 Days. False. If you have a long, solid history of making your payments on time, it's possible that the lender will not report the payment as delinquent. That said, don't count on it. Check your credit report and if, indeed, it includes the late payment, refer to point three below.

3. Once a Late Payment is on Your Record, You're Stuck With It. False. Lenders have the right and ability to remove negative listings from your credit report. This includes late payments. So, if you do make a late payment that gets reported to the credit bureaus, you may ask the lender to remove it. Of course, they are under no legal obligation to do so, meaning you have your work cut out for you. Give them a call and give it a try with the following in mind:

  1. Give them a good reason for missing the payment.
  2. Assure them this is an exception that shouldn't happen again.
  3. Do so in as respectful and patient a manner as possible.

Of course, if you are unable to have the late payment removed, you can expect it to impact your score in some manner for up to 7 years. That said, the impact of late payments 30 to 60 days late will negligible compared to the impact of payments 90 days late or more.

4. One Recent Late Payment is More Harmful to Your Score Than Several Late Payments Reported Some Time Ago. True. If you were 30 days late with a payment last month, it will more negatively impact your credit score than several late payments of 30 days or more reported last year, for example.

5. The Impact of One Late Payment on Your Credit Score Depends Solely on Just How Late You Are. False. While a payment that's 90 days late certainly has more of a negative impact on your score than a payment just 30 days late, other factors come into play. The larger your outstanding balance on the delinquent account, the shorter your credit history, and the greater the number of delinquencies on your other accounts, the more a late payment will hurt your score.