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One late payment shouldn't significantly lower your credit score; in fact, it may have no effect at all. It depends how late the payment was. In general, credit card issuers do not report negative information about late payments to credit bureaus until payments are significantly late – more than 60 or perhaps 90 days. The best thing to do is order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) and check to see what information is on each report. You can get a free copy of your report annually; it's always a good idea to know what's on your credit report, considering that up to 80% of them may contain errors. In any case, your one late payment should not keep you from applying for, or being approved for, a great rewards credit card.