In some cases, your mortgage payment receipt is your only proof of payment for this important financial obligation. You may have to keep these receipts for a while. A poll by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that about 16 percent of respondents experienced a charge or loss of money due to missing paperwork. To avoid this problem, keep your mortgage receipts organized in a labeled folder or envelope until it's time to chuck them.
Reasons for Keeping Receipts
The main reason for keeping mortgage payment receipts is to prove that you've made on-time payments to the lender. For instance, say that your mortgage provider claims on your credit report that you made a payment 30 days late, but you know you paid it within 30 days. The mortgage payment receipt is the proof you'd send with your credit report dispute to a credit bureau to get the inaccurate information removed.
How Long to Keep Receipts
Since the main reason for keeping your mortgage payment receipts is to verify that you made your payments on time, keep them for up to a year. Once you verify a payment on your next billing statement, you may feel comfortable tossing out the receipt. Creditors commonly update information about your account to the credit bureaus every month or two. If you paid with a check, Bankrate says you can throw out your bill payment receipts once the canceled check posts to your bank account. The copy of the paid check now serves as your proof of payment.
Form 1098 for Taxes
If you're holding onto months or even years of mortgage payment receipts because you think you'll need the information to do your taxes, that's unnecessary. The IRS requires at the beginning of each year that mortgage companies send you a form 1098 listing the interest and real estate taxes you paid with your mortgage payment so that you can record the information on your tax returns.
Many people now make mortgage payments online, which doesn't generate a printed payment receipt unless you print the confirmation page. The mortgage payment history gets stored in your online account. So just check your account after scheduling the payment to ensure it's being processed. The amount of time the mortgage company hangs onto information about each payment varies, but you should be able to retrieve information for at least the previous six months to a year.