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Houston, Texas: I had 2 or 3 late payments on a small student loan. But I have since paid the loan off in full. Will the late payments always be on my credit report or will they be trumped by the fact that I paid the entire loan off?
Michelle Singletary: Your late payments can stay on your credit report for SEVEN years. But don't be dimayed. The impact of those last payments go away month after month after month. As long as going forward you continue to pay on time and stay below (about 50 percent) of your available credit on your credit cards etc. your score should rise. Your on-time paymeents will help going forward.