November 6th, 2012

Credit Report Card Break-Down: Percent of On-Time Payments

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Credit Report Card Break-Down: Percent of On-Time Payments

Last week we covered open credit card utilization. This week, we’re talking about another important factor of your credit score: your percentage of on-time payments.

This percentage shows lenders how often you pay your bills on time. A percentage even slightly less than 100 percent can mean trouble for your credit score.

How do on-time payments affect my credit?

Keeping up with your bill payments is the best way to build a positive credit history. Your credit will benefit greatly from a 100 percent on-time payment history.

On the other hand, missing just one payment will cause your average of on-time payments to drop, and it’s difficult to build back up. Let’s take a look at how different on-time payment percentages compare across different Credit Karma members.

on time payments


This chart shows the distribution of on-time payment percentages across all Credit Karma members and assigns a letter grade in the Credit Report Card based on how you compare. Those Credit Karma members with 100 percent on-time payments (a perfect record) have an average credit score of 706, which is pretty good. However, those who have missed even just a few payments and end up with a 96 percent or less of on-time payments average out to a 571 credit score. In our current market, a consumer with a credit score of 571 would have a difficult time getting approved for more credit products.

So why do just one or two late payments affect your credit so significantly? Quite frankly, seeing how you’ve paid back your debts in the past best predicts how you’ll likely handle any future debts; it’s the best predictor that creditors have.

Additionally, making a late debt payment can affect your credit and finances in more severe ways. Read more about how late payments affect your credit score.

What can I do?

At this point, we’ve made it clear how important it is to keep making on-time payments for your debts. Now here are a few strategies for doing so:

  1. Automate your payments. For those bill payments that are the same from month to month, set up automatic payments. For your credit cards that you use regularly, set up automatic payments to cover at least your minimum payment.
  2. Try the goodwill approach. If you’ve missed a credit card payment recently but the rest of your history is pristine, try writing to your credit card company. Sometimes, you can get the delinquent payment stricken from your credit report by writing a good will adjustment letter. Ultimately, it’s up to your credit card company whether they decide to remove the derogatory mark, but it never hurts to ask. You can find a template of a goodwill adjustment letter here.
  3. Transfer your balances. If you’re already struggling to pay back credit card debt with high interest, consider getting a balance transfer credit card. The best balance transfer offers offer 0 percent APR for 12 to 18 months, allowing you the time to pay off your credit card debt without racking up additional interest. Just make sure to pay your transferred balance off completely before the intro period ends, or else you might be required to pay interest on the entire transfer after the fact.

Curious about balance transfer credit cards? Here are a few suggestions:

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Stick around for more of the Credit Report Card Break-Down Series here on the Credit Karma Blog!

First post: Open Credit Card Utilization

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Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.


  1. Another good practice is to simply: keep the number of accounts with balances to a minimum. It is far easier to keep a perfect payment record on a handful of accounts. Having fewer bill to pay each month greatly eases your administrative burden, and minimize the chances that you may overlook a payment or two.

    Kevin @ Credit Bureau Insider at 6:19 am on November 12, 2012
  2. How far back are late payments included in the calculation on CreditKarma? My late payment score is pretty low, but I’ve been on time for the last 2.5 years, and all the accounts I was late on have been paid off (car payment and second mortgage). They’re long paid off but still hurting my credit score.

    Barry at 8:51 pm on December 5, 2012
  3. The on-time payment percentage is calculated over seven years, but recent behavior is weighted more heavily. Remember that derogatory marks, including late payments, stay on your credit report for seven to ten years.

    bethy at 9:50 am on December 6, 2012
  4. yes,now our shopping are almost all depend on pay by credit card,and now also has crdit card payment readers developing,I think credit card payment will be used more widly.

    shirelly at 5:59 pm on December 12, 2012
  5. 100% on time payments, then dropped to 40% when nothing has changed. and actually my electric bill and water bill are always a couple days late. my loan bill is always early or on time. what gives? it made my score go down from 688 to 630 and i am trying so hard to obtain a high credit score.

    also, is it best to use the visa part of the debit card when purchasing anything, credit-wise?

    sharon boutin at 9:12 am on February 4, 2013
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    explained, keep it up all the time. at 1:45 pm on February 12, 2013
  7. I want to know specifically how the on time is calculated I have been making on time payments but on my credit karma it still shows i missed payments after it updates. why is this happneing?

    Dateebone2 at 3:16 pm on October 12, 2013
  8. Jenna

    The on-time payment percentage is calculated over seven years. However, recent behavior is weighted more heavily than payments made toward the beginning of that seven-year window.

    Jenna at 8:00 am on October 14, 2013
  9. My score should be much higher than 706;for a 5.year assessment, really

    Luther at 3:07 pm on December 19, 2013
  10. Jenna

    Hi Luther, we pull the scores on our site directly from TransUnion. If you think something is wrong, we’d recommend pulling your full credit report at to make sure all the bureaus have your correct information.

    Jenna at 7:41 am on December 20, 2013
  11. Ok, so let me get this straight just to be certain.

    My percent of on-time payments is 92% and that was really bothering me because I thought it would be a permanent thing that would take me 2,000 more payments to get to 99%.

    But the truth is, these late marking will disappear from my credit report after 7 years? So, for example, let’s shoot forward 8 years and assume I paid all of my bills on time…so my rating for this will be 100%?


    Ryan at 7:14 am on February 11, 2014
  12. I have been using Credit Karma for quite awhile now and my percentage of on time payments doesn’t change at all. The total # of payments doesn’t go up even though I pay several reportable bills on time on a monthly basis. I understand the whole 7 years thing, but if it’s figuring a percentage then why isn’t the total # of payments changing, ever?

    JulesV at 1:12 pm on February 24, 2014
  13. Mike

    Thanks for the question Jules. This sounds like a matter for our support department. Please email us directly at and we’d be happy to help out. Thanks!

    Mike at 2:07 pm on February 24, 2014
  14. what if you make multiple on-time payments for the same account in the same billing period?
    For Example, would my percent of on time payments go up faster if I were to make, say, 3 on time payments within a 30 day period? Thanks

    Jason at 12:36 pm on April 1, 2014
  15. Can they add your rent utilizes history to your credit report.

    Brenda Seeger at 7:05 pm on October 2, 2014
  16. Mike

    Hi Brenda – Utility accounts occasionally appear on credit reports, but don’t normally. The decision of whether or not to report these accounts is typically up to the utilities company. You can find more information on that here:


    Mike at 9:01 am on October 3, 2014
  17. I have a question on how the percent of on time payments is calculated. Is it based on the total number of on time payments for all open accounts over the last 2 years or what? I always see a percentage and sometimes you will see a number 96/100 payments on time. There are sometimes graphs that show percentage of on time payments linked to the avg respective credit score for a person with similar payment history, but I have yet to see anything that says what the percentage is based on.

    Example – 5 open accounts that report monthly would mean 60 different payments in one year; if I miss one I now have made 59/60 payments on time or 98%. Over 2 years it’s 119/120 or 99%, 3 years 179/180 or the same 99%. Is this how it works?

    I have heard your most recent payment history has a bigger impact on your score so I want to better understand when you are rebuilding, how long of a perfect payment history really boost your score?

    Pam at 3:05 pm on October 8, 2014
  18. Mike – Does that mean once an account is closed, it’s no longer factored in? Is there any truth to payments in the last 2-3 years impact your score more? If payments are never discarded on open accounts, I don’t see how 100% on time payments help, if older payment history is always considered (I thought negatives fall off in 7 years, so if this is true I see how history on open accounts can improve). Scenario- if I have one 30 day late from Nov 2007. I am now approaching Nov 2014, so that 30 day should be removed and my payment history now is 100% on-time payment for this account. Would this be true?

    Pam at 2:39 pm on October 9, 2014
  19. What is reported on ontime payments. I have been paying on my defaulted student loan since january and paying my car insurance since aug 2013. Neither of these are reported. Does it only do credit card payments?

    Jennifer at 9:33 am on October 13, 2014
  20. Mike

    Hi Pam – I’m sorry for any confusion or any misinformation in my previous comment. The calculation that we show on our Credit Report Card is based on both open and closed accounts. Since late payments fall off your credit report after seven years, late payments older than that will not be reflected in this percentage. The percentage shown on your Credit Report Card is for educational purposes, though, and is not factored directly into your credit score.

    As you’ve noted, many credit score models do weigh recent payment behavior more heavily than older payment history, as well. However, this preference is not reflected in the percentage you see on your Credit Report Card. Hope that clears things up!

    Mike at 10:27 am on October 21, 2014
  21. Mike

    Hi Jennifer – Your on-time payment percentage should include payments on loans and credit cards. Car insurance is not typically reported to credit bureaus, so those payments will not be factored into your percentage. Regarding your defaulted loan, I’d recommend contacting your loan provider to see if they’ve been reporting your new payments to the credit bureaus. Thanks!

    Mike at 10:32 am on October 21, 2014

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