Does a late payment affect my score even if it was an error by the lender?

Dear James,

I recently obtained a new credit card, and setup a monthly direct debit soon after. On the card's portal, it looked like the debit had been setup and was due to take payment. However, it didn't and I was charged a late fee. I had to manually pay and got a refund from the card company as the DD wasn't active. Does this late charge impact my credit score despite it effectively being the card company's fault?

Jay, London

Dear Jay,

I’m sorry to hear about this payment hiccup. The first thing to do is check your credit report to see whether or not the company is recording a late payment on this account. If you find they aren’t, then you’ve no need to worry. Although you aren’t too pleased with the error, they’ve refunded the charge and if no late payment shows then there won’t be credit rating impact.

If there is a late payment recorded then you will want to take this up with them, which you can either do yourself directly or you can ask us to take the matter up with them on your behalf. If they’ve admitted this was their fault, then they should agree to update their records and the credit reference agencies to show there was no late payment.  

It’s definitely worthwhile querying the information because a late payment can have a negative impact on your credit score. If they refuse to accept this was their fault and won’t, as a result, change the information on your credit report you might consider adding your side of the story to your credit report using a ‘notice of correction’. You can find out more about notices of correction here. Once a little time has passed, a single late payment is unlikely to have a significant impact on your credit score, but to avoid disappointment it would be sensible to use a comparison and eligibility service, such as on the Experian website, to help you apply for credit you’re likely to be accepted for. (February 2018)


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