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Will My Credit Card Company Forgive My Late Payment?

If you miss a payment, don’t panic. Late credit card payments can sometimes be removed by the lender, so it’s always worth asking.

January 19, 2022

Whether you’ve fallen on difficult financial times or you simply forgot to make a payment, you may notice a late fee charged by your credit card company.

The immediate consequence of a missed payment is a credit card late fee. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) allows card issuers to charge up to $29 for first-time late fees and up to $40 for repeat offenders. 

These fees can add an expense, but the more important impact is on your credit score. A single late payment can negatively affect your credit rating for years to come. 

Fortunately, credit card companies may be willing to forgive late credit card payments in some cases — particularly if it’s your first time paying late. 

This guide discusses everything you need to know about late credit card payments. 

What is considered a “late” credit card payment? 

Generally speaking, credit card providers consider payments to be late if they are at least 30 days past the due date. 

The due date will typically be 21 days after the statement closing date. 

For example, if your credit card statement period ends on January 1st, the payment will be due by January 21st or 22nd. 

A payment would be considered late 30 days after this date, or around February 20th. A credit card late fee (up to $40) would be assessed in this case and the late payment will be reported to credit bureaus. 

The details can vary by lender, however. Call your credit card company if you have any questions. 

What happens if a payment is late?

If you miss a payment on a credit card, here’s what can happen:

  • A late fee may be charged — up to $29 for first-time missed payments and up to $40 for repeated missed payments.  

  • Your annual percentage rate (APR) may increase temporarily (this penalty APR is typically charged until you have made several on-time payments again).

  • Your promotional APR period may expire early (for example, a 0% APR offer may be canceled if you miss a payment).

  • The lender may report the late payment to the credit bureaus, which can impact your credit rating.

How long do late payments stay on credit reports?

If a late payment is reported to the credit bureaus, the missed payment can stay on your credit report for up to seven years

After seven years, the payment will automatically fall off your credit report. 

A late credit card payment is considered a derogatory mark on your credit report. It can negatively impact your credit score and your ability to get other loans. 

When a lender sees that you have a history of late payments, they know that you didn’t pay back the loan or credit as agreed upon. Thus, the bank may consider you a less qualified borrower. 

Will credit card companies forgive late payments?

If you miss a payment, don’t panic — your credit card provider may be willing to work with you. 

Not all late payments will be forgiven, but it’s always worth asking. 

Lenders are most willing to waive late payments for customers who have never missed a payment before, rather than for repeat offenders. 

Likewise, a lender may be more willing to waive a late fee if the borrower has been a customer for a long time. 

How to get a late payment forgiven before it’s reported

If possible, you’ll want to contact your lender before they report the late payment to the credit bureaus. If this is not possible, the late payment will show up on your credit report (see the next section for info on how to get it removed). 

If you can catch the mistake early — or if you know that you will have to miss an upcoming due date due to financial constraints — it’s best to contact the issuing bank as soon as possible. 

Explain to the representative that you have missed a payment (or won’t be able to make your next payment) and ask them if you have any options.

In many cases, lenders are willing to work with borrowers to work out a solution — ideally before anything gets reported to credit bureaus. 

How to remove late payments from credit report

If the late payment is reported to the credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax), don’t panic. If it’s your first late credit card payment, it may be possible to remove it. 

In this case, you’ll still need to contact the lender directly (not the credit bureau). You can try calling in, but you’ll likely have more success in writing a late payment removal letter and sending it via email or mail. Even if you choose to call the lender initially, following up with a letter is a good idea so your request will be in writing.

Also called a “goodwill letter,” this letter of explanation for late payments describes what happened to cause you to miss the payment and why you believe the lender should remove the derogatory mark. 

A goodwill letter should be concise, respectful and honest. Here’s an example. 

Late payment removal letter example

[your name]

[your address]

Account Number: [your account number]


To whom it may concern,

Thank you for your time in reading this letter. I’m contacting you today because I noticed a late payment reported on [date] for my [account name] in my most recent credit report. 

Unfortunately, I missed this payment due to [explanation of the circumstances that led to the missed payment]. I understand my financial responsibilities, and if it weren’t for [circumstance], I would have a perfect repayment record. 

This is my first missed payment on my credit history. Since the missed payment, I have made every payment on time. I made a mistake in falling behind, but it will not happen again.

I am concerned that the late payment on my report may affect my credit score. I truly believe that this one missed payment does not reflect my commitment to repaying debt and my overall creditworthiness. I ask that you please consider making a goodwill adjustment to remove the late payment on [date]. 

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.


[your name]

Other ways to improve your credit score

A missed payment can ding your credit score, so getting it removed should be a top priority. There are other ways you can boost your credit score, as well:

  • Reduce your credit usage by paying off debt.

  • Checking your credit report for any errors and getting them removed.

  • Negotiate and settle any accounts that are in collections.

  • Become an authorized user on someone else’s account.

  • Pay off credit card debt to lower your credit usage. 

One way to potentially pay off credit card debt faster is to use Tally†. Tally helps qualifying Americans consolidate their debt and pay off cards more efficiently. Find out more about how Tally works here.

†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. Based on your credit history, the APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% - 29.99% per year. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.