How Does A Late Payment Affect Your Credit Score?

By Melissa Cook Reviewed by Nima Vahdat Updated Jan 11, 2024
How Does A Late Payment Affect Your Credit Score?

Your payment history is the largest factor in your credit score, and one slip up can damage your score quite a bit. 

Most people don’t know this, but even if you have otherwise spotless credit, a payment that’s more than 30 days past due can knock as many as 100 points off your credit score. 

That’s a tough pill for most to swallow, especially if they want to apply for a mortgage, vehicle, or other type of loan and have to pay a much higher interest rate or are denied altogether. 


  • It’s important to know what constitutes a “late” payment, why there is a bit of leeway given, and the impacts of missing a payment by 30 days or more. 
  • Even though a late payment can stay on your credit report for up to 7 years, you could rebound from just one late payment if you keep on track with all your payments going forward. 
  • Credit Bureaus record late payments in 30-day increments, and there are specific actions you can take if they made a mistake. 

What Is A Late Payment?

Logically, you’d think of a late payment as any payment made after your due date. 

While that’s technically true, only payments 30 days or more late are marked as “late” on your credit report. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make your payments by your due date, but it gives you some leeway before the late payment actually affects your credit score. 

What Does A Late Payment Do To Your Credit Score?

The effects of a late payment on your credit score depends on many factors. Payment history is a large part of your credit score, but there are other factors too: 

  • Payment history
  • Credit utilization (amount of credit outstanding compared to your credit limit)
  • Length of credit history
  • Type of credit
  • New credit

Typically, the better the credit score, the worse the damage a single late payment causes. 

However, the average person could lose 50 to 100 or more points on their credit score. The damage is usually worse the later your payment gets. 

Can One Late Payment Affect Your Credit Score?

Yes, even one 30-day late payment can affect your credit score. 

Because credit reporting agencies don’t report your payment late until it’s 30 days past due, one late payment can harm your credit report.

That being said, if you miss your due date by 30 days, you must bring it current as quickly as possible. 

The longer you let the account default, the worse it is for your credit score. If you can’t get caught up with one or more credit account payments, then you may want to consider a debt relief program to help you get back on track.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Late Payment?

How long it takes to recover from a late payment depends on your situation. 

Some consumers can bounce back after 30 to 60 days if they have great credit outside of the one mishap. 

Other consumers who have bad credit or can’t get caught up can take months or even years to recover from the late payment.

This is why it is important to make that late payment as soon as you possibly can!

How Long Does A Late Payment Stay On Your Credit Report?

Unfortunately, a late payment remains on your credit report for seven years from the date you missed your payment. 

However, it hits the hardest initially. If you work hard to repair your credit and get caught up, the late payment can have less detrimental effects on your credit score with time.

How Do Credit Bureaus Record Late Payments?

When you miss a payment, the credit bureaus record it in 30-day increments. 

The first hit is when your payment is 30 days late. If you make your payment before it hits 60-days late, you only get hit for one late payment.

However, if you miss your payment again and have a 60-day late payment, it will hurt your credit score even further. 

This occurs every 30 days until the creditor sells it to a collection agency or charges the account off as bad debt.

How To Tell When A Creditor Reports Your Payment Late

If you made a payment more than 30 days late, you can bet that the creditor reported it. 

To be sure, you can check your credit reports. 

Every consumer has free weekly access to all three credit reports. Request your free report and see what your creditors report. 

What To Do If You Miss A Payment

Missing a payment isn’t great for your credit, but the key factor is how you handle it.

Before 30 Days Late

If you realize your payment is late before it’s 30 days late, make it up as quickly as you can. 

You’ll likely pay a late fee, and if it’s a credit card, your APR may increase, but be sure to get it paid before the 30-day mark.

If this is your first time making a payment late, then you might be able to ask the creditor to waive the late fee. 

Most creditors are willing to give a one-time waiver. If it happens again, you’ll likely be stuck with the fee.

After 30 Days Late

It will likely go on your credit report if you missed your payment for 30+ days. 

As mentioned before, it is important to make the payment in full as quickly as possible. If you ensure you pay before you’re 60 days late, you’ll be able to minimize the damage to your score.

If it’s your first time with a late payment, consider writing the creditor a goodwill letter asking them to remove the negative mark on your credit report. 

Creditors aren’t required to oblige, but if you have a long-standing (good) record with them, they might. And that could help your credit score rebound even faster as well. 

Can You Get Late Payments Removed From Your Credit Report?

Besides the option to write a goodwill letter, it’s usually impossible to remove late payments from your credit report. 

The only exception is if the credit reporting agency made a mistake. 

If they reported your payments incorrectly, you can file a dispute. You can do this online with all three bureaus and must have solid proof of why the information is inaccurate. 

Each credit reporting agency has a short window to investigate your claim and make a determination.

Final Thoughts On Late Payments And Your Credit Score

Knowing how a late payment affects your credit score is important. Ideally, you’d never have a late payment, but life happens, and sometimes you can’t help it.

The key to not damaging your credit too much is handling the late payment as soon as possible and trying to stay on time moving forward. 

If you slip up, know that the damage to your score won’t last forever, but it might cause you to have a lower credit score for the time being. 

If you get into a situation where you can’t make your payment, always contact the creditor and let them know. Ignoring it is the worst way to handle a delinquent account.

And if your debts are becoming unmanageable, then you should know that you have options. 

At Americor, we understand the importance of managing your finances wisely. 

As America’s trusted source for debt relief solutions, we aim to empower you with financial knowledge that can lead to informed decisions, whether it’s about savings, investments, or managing debt.

If your debt has become unmanageable and you have difficulty making your debt payments each month, then you should consider a free consultation call with one of our certified Debt Consultants, who can provide personalized advice tailored to your specific needs.

By taking proactive steps today, you can put an end to your financial stress and work towards a brighter financial future. 

Remember, there is always hope for debt relief, and our team of experienced professionals are ready to guide you on your journey to regaining control of your finances.

For more information on Americor’s debt relief services, contact us today to see how we can help you eliminate your debts, and get on the fast-track to becoming completely debt-free!


Melissa Cook

Melissa has a degree in English and marketing from University of California Irvine. She is a creative and accomplished content writer and editor with comprehensive experience developing rich, compelling content for a variety of websites. With her expertise in writing a broad range of content, combined with outstanding interpersonal skills and commitment to exploring innovative ideas, Melissa has done an excellent job developing content for blogs, articles, social media, and the company website. When she is not writing, Melissa spends most of her time cooking, traveling the world, and catching her favorite Broadway shows.