Late Payments – How They Effect My Credit

Paying your bills late can have a serious impact on your credit
report
because your creditors and the credit bureaus report
those late payments .  The more recent your delinquency, the
more it will have a negative impact on your score.  Over time,
the effect of the delinquency begins to diminish.  

Negative information, including a late payment, will be on your
credit report until 7 years after the date of delinquency. 
There are some exceptions to this rule including bankruptcy and
back taxes which may stay on your report for up to 10
years. 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates that your credit history
be reported with maximum
possible accuracy
.  However, it does not actually mandate
that credit reporting be performed.  That is, a lender does
not have a responsibility to report your payments, but if they do
report to the bureaus, the information must be accurate. Thus, you
can be making all of your payments for an account on time. 
The creditor is not obligated to report it under the FCRA (that
does not mean, however, that they may not have a contractual
obligation with the bureaus to report it).  One example we
have seen is that many public utility companies will not report
your account at all until you become delinquent on it.  Then,
they will report the delinquency.

The Fair
Credit Reporting Act
requires those that report to report with
“maximum possible accuracy.”  If any information, negative or
not, on your credit report is incorrect, the consumer has a right
to dispute it.  Check out our website for
detailed instructions
on the disputing process.

The Fair
Credit Reporting Act
(FCRA) gives consumers the right to dispute a
credit report
and demand a prompt and reasonable investigation
into the inaccuracy.  The law provides that the consumer is to
receive a response to the investigation within 30 days of the date
that the credit bureau first received notice of the dispute. 
If they fail to do so, and fail to take notice of your complaint
into the inaccuracy of their reporting, you may be able to recover
your losses.  If you have errors on your credit report,
contact SmithMarco, P.C. SmithMarco, P.C., has
over 30 years of combined experience practicing law protecting the
rights of consumers around the country.

Of course, the best possible solution is to pay your bills on
time.  But unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world and
payments might need to be late.  If you have a good payment
history and know you are going to make a late payment, contact your
creditor and let them know.  If you are a good customer, they
might remove or waive the late fee.  Creditors can use their
discretion when reporting an account 30 days late if the customer
has a good payment record.