How Late Payments Can Affect Your Credit Score

How Late Payments Can Affect Your Credit Score

by | Nov 2, 2020

Things happen. Maybe you have to make a late payment on your credit card or loan to prioritize other expenses. Or maybe you simply forgot about a bill. Regardless of the reason, the consequences of late payments are never something to look forward to, especially since they can negatively affect your credit scores.

Do Late Payments Affect Your Credit?

How your credit score is affected depends on how recent the late payment is, the number of late payments you have on your credit report and how many days have passed since the payment due date. But there’s no way around it, late payments can damage your credit

Your payment history is the most important factor that goes into calculating your FICO® Score. It can account for 35% of your total score and shows lenders whether or not you can be trusted to repay borrowed money in a timely manner.

A good history of on-time payments shows you are a reliable borrower and increases your chances of being approved for loans or credit at favorable terms. A poor payment history, on the other hand, sends a red flag to a lender that you may not repay your debts and it may result in a loss to their business.

If you have spotless credit, you might experience a heavier impact on your scores with a late payment. Given that late payments are not the norm for people with good credit, a recent 30-day late payment can bring your scores down by as much as 100 points, according to FICO®. If your score is already low, on the other hand, it can damage your credit but not to the same extent.

When are Late Payments Reported to Credit Bureaus?

Late payment cannot be reported to the credit reporting bureaus until the consumer is a full 30 days past the due date. So, don’t stress about a late payment showing up on your credit report and damaging your credit scores as long as you pay the full minimum payment before the 30-day mark.

Here are the options your lenders can have for reporting late payments:

30-59 days late

60-89 days late

90-119 days late

120-149 days late

150-179 days late

180 days late, or more

As you can see, there isn’t an option for reporting anything under 30 days late. The Credit Reporting Resource Guide, which is published by the Consumer Data Industry Association, says that the “Industry Standard for Reporting Account Delinquency” is as follows: “the ‘clock’ for a 30-day delinquency starts at 30 days after the due date, as opposed to the billing date.” They go on to provide examples for reporting accounts at different stages of delinquency:

Days Past the Due DateAccount Status
0“Current and in good standing”
17“Current and in good standing”
45“30-59 days past the due date”
76“60-89 days past the due date”


So, if you’ve forgotten a bill or have had an unexpected cost come up, you should do your best to make a late payment before the 30-day mark has passed.

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*Source: Fair Isaac Corporation.

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