How to dispute a late payment represents one of the important financial lessons for consumers to learn. Several factors determine your credit score. One factor that many consumers forget to consider involves the timing of bill payments. Every loan statement, every credit card bill summary includes an important message at the top of the correspondence.

Due Date.

Lending institutions and credit card companies include your history of late payments for determining your credit worthiness. If you have established a solid financial record of paying your bills on time, you benefit from a higher credit score. However, if your credit history demonstrates a consistent inability to pay bills on time, your credit score goes into a severe nosedive.

Here are some of the negative consequences of paying your bills after the due dates:

  • Interest rates increase
  • Payment of costly late fees
  • Shows up on credit report
  • Decreases your credit score

The calculation of credit scores is about as shrouded in mystery as the mystery that surrounds the calculation of Google’s algorithm. Yet, we know that about 35% of your credit score comprises your bill payment history.

Even the most financially sound consumers forget to make a bill payment here and there. Regardless of your bill payment diligence, there’s going to be a few times when you need to know how to dispute a late payment.

How to Dispute a Late Payment with a Creditor

According to AAACreditguide you have two sources to dispute a late payment: the creditor and one or more of the three credit reporting agencies. Each source requires a different strategy to remove the blemish from your credit report. You should start by attempting to get the creditor to remove the late payment from your account.

Goodwill Hunting

If you have established a sterling credit history with a creditor, but make one late payment, you can have the late payment expunged from your transactions record by simply sending a goodwill letter to the creditor. Many creditors delete late payment records for customers that have consistently paid bills on time. Contact the source of the credit first, before moving to the alternative method for learning how to dispute a late payment.

The Proof is in the Pudding

In this case, a creditor erroneously charged you for a late payment, even when you paid the bill in a timely manner. Creditors quickly delete late payment records for customers that show proof that they paid the bills. Proof comes in the form of a canceled check and an online transaction record that you download or send via email.

Enroll in an Automatic Payment Plan

Many creditors-especially credit card companies-are more apt to remove a late payment from your record, if you agree to sign up for an automatic payment plan. Automatic payment plans work for both you and the creditor. You eliminate the responsibility of monitoring monthly bill due dates and the creditor receives your payments in a timely manner. Just make sure you link an automatic monthly payment to the electronic deposit plan you have established with your employer.

Take Advantage of Online Billing Delays

Online billing software can experience a wide variety of glitches that turn a timely bill payment into a late payment. For example, you paid a department store credit bill online on the due date August 12, but the company’s online billing system didn’t credit your account for the payment until August 16. Online credit account adjustment delays often occur because of software malfunctions. You can also experience a delay by paying off a monthly bill on a Saturday and the online billing software doesn’t confirm the payment until Monday.

How to Dispute a Late Payment with the Credit Reporting Agencies

Three credit reporting agencies influence the credit histories of consumers that live in the United States: Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax. Although each of the credit reporting agencies calculates unique credit scores, how to dispute a late payment requires you to implement the same dispute strategies for all three agencies.

Creditor Error in Your Favor

Contact one or more of the big three credit reporting agencies to claim a creditor made an error in submitting your late payment information. Search for factual errors that a creditor made in the billing and/or payment confirmation statements. Paper trails typically provided the evidence you needed to reverse a factual error. Now, you must submit your evidence electronically. Moreover, you can have a delinquent amount of $0 on your credit report. Request that the big three credit reporting agencies delete the zero balance. After all, how can you be delinquent for nothing?

Never Late for Dinner…

…and never late making a bill payment. A creditor might not respond to your late payment dispute correspondence, no matter how many times you contact the creditor. When you experience a lack of communication with a creditor, contact the credit reporting agencies, and claim you were never late in making a bill payment. The credit reporting agencies contact the creditor to confirm your claim. Sometimes, the credit reporting agencies never hear back from the creditor and after 30 days, the agencies remove the late payment record from your credit history.

Late credit payments play a huge role in determining your credit score. Whenever you see a late payment record in your credit report, you must immediately take action to restore your credit by learning how to dispute a late payment.

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