Even closing an account won’t make your late payments disappear. Your best bet here is to get yourself back on the right track — set up payment due date alerts with all your credit cards and loans and get organized. You can move credit card payment due dates around pretty easily on your bank or lender’s website. Be sure to check your payment due dates in relation to your paycheck schedule.

Ask your credit card issuer or lender if they can forgive that late payment. Maybe you were out of the country on vacation, or the check got lost in the mail, and you had no idea the bill existed. Credit card companies, in particular, are pretty forgiving if you have a long track record of making on-time payments.

Delinquent payments can remain on a credit report for up to seven years from the date of the missed or late payment that the credit bureau reported. This original date is also referred to as the original delinquency date.

The credit bureau, however, will not consider the payment late unless it is at least thirty days past the intended due date. But this does not mean that the credit issuer will refrain from charging you with a late fee or penalty when you are only days late.