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Do late payments affect your credit score?

Paying bills on time is one of the most important things you can do to maintain a good credit score. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go as planned, and sometimes you may find yourself making a late credit card payment or even missing payments altogether. It’s important to understand how late payments affect your credit history and what you can do to avoid them in the future.

How long do late payments stay on my credit report?

Any negative information, including late and missed payments, can remain on your credit report for up to six years in the UK. This means that if you make a late payment, it will stay on your credit report for six years from the date it was reported - no matter your recent credit history. Even if you pay off the debt associated with the late payment, it will still remain on your report for the full six-year period.

Can I remove a late repayment from my credit report?

Unfortunately, once a late payment has been reported to the credit bureaus, there is no way to remove it from credit reports. That being said, if you have paid off any debts associated with a late payment, it’s worth noting this in a dispute letter when requesting a copy of your credit score. You should also include any relevant documentation that shows that you have paid off any delinquent balances or made arrangements to pay them off over time. If these are accepted by the creditor, they may be removed from your report.

Will I be charged late fees and interest on late payments?

Yes – most creditors will charge a late payment fee and interest for a late or missed payment past the due date. Depending on the lender and type of account, these fees can tend to be around £12 for each missed payment and you will continue to pay interest each month after that until the balance is paid in full. To bring your account up to date you will need to pay at least the regular minimum payment due on your credit card on top of this late fee. Some companies also offer a grace period between the date the payment was due and when you start to incur late fees.

The longer you wait to make payments and improve your payment history, the more difficult it becomes to pay down your debt as interest continues to increase each month. To avoid this situation altogether, it’s best practice to set up automatic direct debits or use reminder systems like Google Calendar or Apple Reminders so that you never miss future payments.

Avoiding late payments

The best way to avoid paying late is by setting up automatic bill payments with all of your creditors so you can make on-time payments each month automatically without fail. Automatic bill pay typically includes features like low balance alerts and reminders so that you don’t have to worry about ever having late or missed payments again.

Additionally, sticking to a budget can help ensure that all bills are paid on time and prevent potential financial pitfalls down the road. Staying organised and keeping track of due dates is key in avoiding late payments. Ideally you would also establish an emergency fund just in case unexpected expenses arise!

Can a late payment affect my balance with Polar Credit?

If you miss a repayment at Polar Credit, additional interest may be added to your balance along with a £10 missed payment fee. Head to our FAQs to find out more about late payments.


While making timely payments is one of the most important factors when building good credit scores, life happens. Sometimes we miss payments by a few days or even make them significantly later resulting in penalties and fees from our lenders, which can damage our scores significantly over time if not addressed immediately. If you think you are at risk of missing a payment, it's important that you speak to your lender in advance of your payment date to find out what help is available for your circumstances.

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