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FAQ: How Long Do Late Payments Stay On My Credit Report

Written by Equifax Experts on April 8, 2013 in Credit  |   38 comments

We receive a lot of great comments and insightful questions here at the Equifax Finance Blog. Sometimes we can answer them individually, but a lot of consumers have the same questions and concerns about their credit. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be answering some…

how long do late payments stay on my credit reportWe receive a lot of great comments and insightful questions here at the Equifax Finance Blog. Sometimes we can answer them individually, but a lot of consumers have the same questions and concerns about their credit.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be answering some of your most frequently asked credit questions. We hope that this discussion will increase your understanding of how the credit reporting process works.

Q: How long will a late payment remain on my credit report?

A: Consumers are often concerned about how late payments and other negative information, like bankruptcies and judgments, will impact their credit history and score.

In general, negative information that is more than seven years old from the date of last activity will be removed from your credit report. For bankruptcies, though, the time frame is normally 10 years from the date of last activity.

The on-time payment of your credit card bills or your mortgage, known as positive information, can remain on your credit history forever.

Remember that the information in your credit report does not come from the credit reporting agencies. Instead, credit reporting agencies compile the information that lenders, collection agencies, and public records report to them, and then they record it in your credit report.

If you’re concerned about how long information will remain on your credit history, it might be a good time to review your credit report. When you review your report, confirm that all of your information is correct and accurately reflects your financial history.

Check out a complete breakdown of how long credit accounts, collection accounts, public records, inquiries, and bankruptcy remain in your credit history.

Q: How are early payments factored into my credit score?

A: Early payments are factored into your score just like on-time payments. They are considered positive information on your credit report.

Learn more about how your credit score is calculated.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I disputed several items on my report and this is what you sent me. It does not make sense. I have been trying for more than 10 years to clean up my report and you do not cooperate.
    Come on, wipe it clean and watch me grow even more positive.
    I know a lawyer who had a terrible report and bankruptcy and he got several new credit cards and bought a house.
    So it looks like you only help those people, people connected with law and those who have considerable money.
    I have been trying literally for years to buy a sailboat . . . TO LIVE ON. I could live more economically while advancing with my life-long goal (dream) of becoming a well published author. My work can help others. (I have published but it takes time and constantly working at it to reach the goals I want to reach, the goals that I have the talent to reach. You and inept business people ignore me and get in my way.
    What have you got to say about that?

    • M. Gibbs says:

      I understand thru good sources that it really doesn’t help to keep and use store credit cards, because as you see above, they can hurt you , more than help you. Use your regular credit cards for purchases instead.

  2. David Morris says:

    My wife has generally excellent credit, with ratings of about 800. Recently, however, in the midst of an overseas work assignment, we weren’t getting mailed statements forwarded and were having trouble logging in to several of our online credit card portals. As it happens, there was a $30 charge on one of these we missed, and after four months…without notifying us…the card company wrote off the $90 it had grown to through late charges, and closed the account. Two days later (March 22nd)we finally got a statement informing us we were overdue and needed to pay by April 17th. We called at once to take care of it, but were informed that there was nothing they could do and the account is now closed. And this for a card she had since 1993! How much of a problem is this likely to cause for her credit score…and what can we do to correct, or at least mitigate, the problem?

    • Anonymous says:

      Good luck. I have been trying for 5 years to get a problem like this corrected and still have not got it corrected with equifax or experian. Transunion has removed it.

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      David, I’m sorry to hear about the trouble. Unfortunately, it’s up to the discretion of the lender to close your account. It’s hard to know exactly what the impact will be on your wife’s credit score but closing the account may change her average length of credit history and the available credit limit. Can you ask the lender if it will be reported as closed and paid as agreed? Next time you travel, is it possible to check with your lenders to see about additional notifications or alerts for bills? They may be able to set up email alerts.

      Here’s more information on how your credit score is calculated.

    • Vdub 2016 says:

      David your best bet is to figure out who has it in collections. Contact them to make the payment BUT do not pay them until they send you a letter in the mail that it will show PAID IN FULL at all 3 credit bureaus within 90 business days of payment. Make them put it in writing that they will report it. Credit Bureaus don’t control debt, they just report the info. You have to contact the source directly (Re: in your case collection agency) to make sure this reflects positively. Good luck!

  3. Warren B. says:

    Perhaps the moderator will discuss EARLY payments, as they occur & likely have some impact on credit scores (?)

    Thank you

    • Credit Guru says:

      Early payments count as ‘on time’ and have the same effect. There is no ‘bonus’ to your credit score for making them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not nessarily! My due date on one of my cards was 15th of the month and I had payments I would make on the 1st and then after the 15th I would sometimes make another payment on like the 24 or 25th of the month so I didn’t have to worry about it the following month. To me that meant I was making a payment “early” because due date was 15th of the month. However I was charged late fees twice because without realizing it, my due date was the 15th, but cut off for my billing for the month was 26th, so when I made another payment on the 25th, it was credited as a second payment for current month, which they said, meant I didn’t make a payment for the following month early, I didn’t make a payment period. Since I always paid more than the minimum payment, and this really made me mad, I paid off the credit card and cancelled it! So beware! Make sure your “early” payments aren’t made before end of billing period!

        • Susan says:

          So Anonymous god angry at the credit card company because s/he didn’t understand how credit cards work?! Not everyone can make a full lump sum payment, and because of the grace period, another payday can help pay the balance off.

          Great if Anon can pay off the card but if you’re looking to boost your credit score, what Anon did was all wrong.

          1) Closing an account decreases debt-to-credit ratio. If you have a total limit of 20000$ where you usually spend 5000 a month, that’s a 25% utilization. Close an account with a limit of say 10000$, your utilization is now 50%. it looks bad even if your spending habits don’t change. It looks like you need to borrow HALF your given limit instead of using 25% of it.

          2) Credit History: The older your credit record (assuming you have a good record)…the better your credit score

          3) It is correct that there is no “bonus” for paying early, although you may think it’s working because you saw an increase of a credit score – but this depends on WHEN you requested your report of the month.

          Credit cards, for example, send out updates to the credit bureau on a monthly basis. You don’t really know when that is. Let’s just say for one of your credit cards, your bill for the month is 3000$ and it was released on the 1st and you have until the 21st to pay. Your credit card sends your report on a monthly basis on the 17th. If you pay 2000$ on the 10th, then on the 17th, your credit card company is sending to the credit bureau that you used 1000$ (it takes into consideration the most recent balance in their balance). Then you requested a credit report on the 25th, and because it is seen that you needed to borrow 1000$ instead of 3000$, your utilization % decreased (which is generally favorable) thus increasing your score.

          Had you requested your report any day of the current month before the 17th, your score would not be as high because at that point because it is still considering last month’s report from the credit card company, whatever that was.

  4. Kristine says:

    Does closeing credit card accounts that are paid in full have a negitive impact on a credit score? I would like to close a couple with a 0 balance but not intirely sure how it may look in the world of credit.

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Kristine, that’s a really great question. It’s hard to say if it would help or hurt your credit score since it is based off your unique credit report, but closing a credit account will affect your available credit limit and your average length of credit history. Here’s more information about how your credit score is calculated. Why are you considering closing the credit card? It’s important to consider your financial plan and do what’s best for your situation.

  5. Constant says:

    I have a charge off from a major credit card company that I cannot do anything about. About eight years ago, I stopped a payment on a check to them because after about 15 days, they did not receive it and I had had a payment to a utility confiscated and rewritten from another State. My Bank caught the fraudulent check and after a couple of years, the situation was rectified. Regarding the charge off, the credit card company started adding exhorbitant fees even after I immediately issued another check payment. They just kept saying that I stopped the check payment and because of that, I deserved the fees which were approaching $1000.00. I stopped paying and they carged off the account. I have written them and asked for some type of agreement in that they will remove the charge off and I will pay what I owe. They do not respond to my inquiries. I now have a low credit score and cannot refinance my home. I have never had a late mortgage payment.

    • Bill says:

      If the charge off was 8 years ago you should be able to have the credit agencies take it off. Get a copy of your CR and trace the charge off. If the Date of Last Activity is more than 7 years ago, dispute it with the CRA’s and give them that reason.



  7. Kim Pierce says:

    I would like to know what the Equifax policy and procedure is for bankruptcy chapter 13 reporting is. my bankruptcy was filed over 7 years ago and funny that Experian and Transunion have removed it. You removed it and then put it back on. It seems like your company plays games with our reports.

    • EFX Moderator, KB says:

      Kim, good question and sorry for the frustration.

      In general, a bankruptcy will continue to appear on your credit report for 10 years after the filing date. Individual accounts may fall off your credit report after seven years and 180 days from the start of the delinquency. So you may see individual accounts removed from your report before you see the record of the bankruptcy disappear.

      Click this link for more information: http://blog.equifax.com/credit/what-to-know-when-filing-for-bankruptcy/

  8. James Darrall says:

    Your advice is incorrect, I have has a previous mortgage and loan, payments to both we’re up to date an settled but you have removed this from my report. This is positive information of the best kind but you removed it from my file!!! Both accounts were settled at the end of 2007.

    You say positive information can stay on a file forever but this is simply untrue.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have been late on paying my credit cards for up to 90 days….If I pay off all of my credit cards now,will they remove the late payments on my credit??

  10. Chuck says:

    I recently went through a divorce in which my ex wife was awarded one of our vehicles which is still financed in both our names. During the separation and leading up to the actual divorce, my ex wife purposely made late payments on the vehicle which in turn hurt my credit score. I did not find out about this until recently. What if anything can be done about this? I fully understand I signed the purchase contract, however, do you think the lender will remove negative information if I explain the circumstance regarding my divorce?

  11. Sharon says:

    If I have a current account in good standing with a company, and an old closed account with negative information on it; can the company in question remove the old account with the negative information?

  12. Anonymous 2 says:

    I had a check returned for insufficient funds. I had a stroke and was unable to make the deposit. Actually I could not speak and didn’t remember I needed to make the deposit or that I had checks out. I paid the check off, however it will remain on my credit report for seven years from date paid off. Is there any way I can get it off sooner?

  13. Tapan says:


    I missed two payments. I was out of the country at that time. Those payments are still effecting my credit score. Please advise how to get away with it

  14. Renee says:

    My identity was stolen 2 years ago and although the debt was cleared up the inquiries still stayed on my report. Why is that? These were not authorized by me but by the thief that stole my identity.

  15. Anneris C. says:

    I have some inquiries that I am trying to take out of my credit, and are affecting my score, what I should do, I am a member of equifax but when I do a dispute is not option to try to clean the inquiries only if they are not made it by me. Do you have any other recommendations?

  16. Stepba says:

    I received a lump sum of money and decided to use part of it to pay off credit cards. I thought it best to pay them off and closed them. Now, I found out I should Not have closed those accounts. Why is paying off credit card bills and closing them such a negative for your credit score?

    • Esther says:

      I did the same thing about 10 years ago; did not know any better. At the time I just want close my account, pay it off and be done with it. Paying them is good; however closing it is not. By keeping a fully paid account open tells creditors that you have access to the money but are disciplined to not use it or over spend. When it is closed you lose this benefit. For instance, let’s say you have $1000 in credit card and only borrow $100 – it positively reflect your utilization score by not borrowing too much. Bottom line is it shows that you can manage your money well; with a closed account no history is recorded on how disciplined you are in borrowing patterns.

  17. ANONYMOUS1030 says:


  18. sandra says:

    I have a kohls charge I have had for 12yrs, I was late one time in 12yrs and that was 30 days late. it was my problem I know but simple forgot. just that one time late problem has impact my credit score. I wrote a letter to kohls asking them to reconsider there answer but no luck. then I wrote another letter asking again still waiting on a reply.
    I pay all my bills on time. how can one time effect your score. my credit score is coming up a little, how do I correct the problem ASAP

  19. J.Turner says:

    I just paid several of my late payments off how soon will it be before it’s taken off my negative credit?

  20. Stamford2005 says:

    I had a small outstanding amount on an LOC with a Canadian bank. The bank has reported it for late payment, which seems to have permanently gotten into my credit record. I rarely use the MasterCard associated with that account. Because this is not my main account, I do not receive a paper statement and do not check the account online often. The amount outstanding is less than $15, even with six months’ interest. The bank never alerted me and never charged a late fee.

    I have paid off the balance and the account show as current and ‘paying as agreed’. However, the late payments (six) are still on there. Is there any way I can remove it or reduce the impact?

  21. GA retiree says:

    Bank says my credit report has “30 day lay” on it. DOes anyone know what that means?

  22. Sadie says:

    I have an arrears on my account from a phone company, if I pay it off in full how long will it stay on my credit report?

  23. Billye H. says:

    Savvy piece ! I learned a lot from the specifics . Does anyone know if my business can get a template NJ DoT NJ-W4 document to fill out ?

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