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How Do Late Payments Affect Your Credit Score?

How Do Late Payments Affect Your Credit Score?

By Matt Diehl • June 27, 2019

Nobody likes paying their bills late. But if you miss a due date, being prepared for what may happen next can make things a little easier.

Here’s how late payments could affect your credit score and some tips to make it right:

Your credit score can drop

Payment history is the most important factor for two of the most common credit scoring models: FICO Score and VantageScore.1 This means that even one late payment could make your score drop. And depending on how long your payment remains unpaid (30 days, 60 days, 90 days, etc.) your score might continue to go down.

However, it is important to note that lenders cannot report a late payment until it’s a full 30 days late.2 So, while you may incur a late payment fee from your lender, your credit score shouldn’t be affected if you pay your amount due up to 29 days after the due date. (But we don’t recommend waiting that long.)

Your score could be damaged for a long time

If you’re wondering, “How long do late payments stay on my credit report,” you may not like the answer: seven years.3 If you cure your delinquency before a payment becomes 90 days late, it will still remain on your report the full seven years, but its effects should weaken over time.4 Once a late payment reaches the 90-day mark, it can damage your credit scores significantly for the full seven years so try to cure your late payments as soon as possible.5

As long as a late payment on your credit report is accurate, a creditor has no legal obligation to remove it.6 However, if you believe a late payment on your report is a mistake, follow these steps to dispute and correct a credit report error.

What should I do if I missed a payment?

If you’ve fallen behind on a payment, these steps could help:

  1. Contact your lender – Most lenders understand people go through tough times. If you call them and explain your situation, they might be willing to work something out with you.

  2. Cure the delinquency ASAP – Once you’ve gone past the 30-day mark, paying the overdue balance should be your top priority. If you need some ideas for additional income, try these ways to make extra money or take up a hobby that can make you money.

  3. Make a plan so it doesn’t happen again – Whether you need to build an emergency fund or figure out how to stick to a budget, now is the time to identify why the missed payment occurred and stop it from happening again.

For more details, check out our blog on missed loan payments.

Learn from it and refocus

Credit scores are built on a pattern of behavior, not one rare slip-up. The best way to handle a late payment is to contact your lender and pay the overdue balance immediately. Once your account is up-to-date, you can start a new goal of no more late payments.

If you have a personal loan with OneMain Financial and missed a payment, you can call us at 1-800-961-5577.


1. Little, Kendall. “7 ways to improve your credit score.” Bankrate.com. https://www.bankrate.com/finance/debt/7-simple-ways-improve-credit-score-1.aspx (accessed June 7, 2019).
2. Ulzheimer, John. “Credit FAQ: When Does a Late Payment Show Up on My Credit Report?” Thesimpledollar.com. https://www.thesimpledollar.com/credit-faq-how-late-is-late/ (accessed June 7, 2019).
3. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. “Credit Scores and Credit Reports.” Federalreserve.gov. https://www.federalreserve.gov/creditreports/pdf/creditreportsscores_2.pdf (accessed June 7, 2019).
4. Detweiler, Gerri. “Top Late Payment Secrets Revealed.” Credit.com. https://www.credit.com/credit-reports/late-payment-forgiveness-secrets-revealed/ (accessed June 7, 2019).
5. Detweiler, Gerri. “Top Late Payment Secrets Revealed.” Credit.com 6. Federal Trade Commission. “Fixing Your Credit.” FTC.gov. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/fixing-your-credit (accessed June 7, 2019).


The information in this article is provided for general education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. It is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal or any other advice specific to you the user or anyone else. The companies and individuals (other than OneMain Financial’s sponsored partners) referred to in this message are not sponsors of, do not endorse, and are not otherwise affiliated with OneMain Financial.